The Economics of House of Cards

How does the modern television show House of Cards and its dramatization of a power-hungry congressman in American government illustrate public choice theory—the concept that politicians retain personal interests after being elected into office?

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • This would be an excellent opportunity for a cross-curricular assignment drawing on American government and economics content
  • Discuss further as a class some of the topics briefly mentioned in the video (i.e. pork barrel spending, horse trading, concetrated benefits and dispersed costs, etc.) politicians stay human—still have wants and needs
Classroom Considerations
  • Review video to determine whether the clips are appropriate for the maturity of your learners
  • Several specific references are made to the plot points of the television show; however, it is not necessary that viewers have actually seen the show prior to watching the video
Pros
  • Speaker is very clear in his explanations and use of evidence
  • Highly engaging and humorous
Cons
  • None
Common Core