One of the many things I appreciate about economics is that it helps us better understand things in the world around us that without economic tools would seem like mysteries. For example, a few weeks ago I went for a hike with a friend who works for General Motors here in Switzerland. One perk of his job is that he gets to drive different GM cars around before they go on sale in Europe. He showed up to the hike in a 2012 Chevy Cruze. I commented on what a nice looking car it was and asked him how much it would sell for. He told me it would start aroun 17,000 francs here in Switzerland, and then he told me about Chevy’s new plug-in hybrid, the Chevy Volt, which would start at around 32,000 francs.
I decided to ask my IB students today to try and explain the price differences between the Chevy Volt and the Cruze using supply and demand analysis. In the video below, I offer my own economic analysis of the two cars. Watch the video and respond to the discussion questions that follow.