Why Breaking Bad?
The need for a Breaking Bad-based teaching resource becomes even more acute when taking into account the show’s popularity, and its direct appeal to undergraduate students. Currently, statistics provided by the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) show that Breaking Bad received its highest ratings from males and females under eighteen and between eighteen and twenty-nine years of age, precisely the age group in which most of our undergraduate students fall. Moreover, Breaking Bad ranks fifth in IMDB’s Top 250 TV Shows and second among one hundred shows reviewed by The Hollywood Reporter according to Duncan, Muchiri, and Paraschiv (2020).
Teaching with Breaking Bad
Whether your goal is to develop a course that requires students to watch every episode of Breaking Bad or just to add a few scenes from the show into your current curriculum, know that you are not alone. Duncan et al. (2020) provides a background to teaching principles of economics using Breaking Bad, and all of the clips listed in their Appendix are featured on this site, but with more detailed descriptions and cross-referencing of topics. Since acceptance in the Journal of Economics & Finance Education, additional clips have been identified and are available on this site and we have expanded their teaching suggestions to include additional projects and assessments.
If you are using Breaking Bad in the classroom, please share your assessments with us so that we can help increase the number of ways the show can be used to teach economics. If you have a particular clip you find useful, but it isn’t on our site, please submit additional clips that clip and we’ll post it with attribution to you.
In economics, especially in principles courses, online teaching resources that connect educators and students are becoming less difficult to find. Recent efforts in this direction document economic concepts that appear in dialogues and scenes of popular TV shows, include The Big Bang Theory, Shark Tank, Parks and Recreation, The Office , Seinfeld, and Modern Family. There are also a number of academic papers that outline economic concepts in shows, but don’t provide online resources (Adam Ruins Everything, super heroes, and contemporary film)
While these shows encompass a wide array of economic concepts, there are also online resources that aggregate clips from various movies and tv shows. The two largest sites are the Economics Media Library and Dirk’s Media Library. Beyond tv shows and movies, there are websites dedicated to country music and even Broadway shows.
None of the clips shown on this website are actually hosted on this website, by the authors, or their respective universities. All clips are hosted on Critical Commons, which provides the necessary framework to comply with copyright concerns. No viewer of this website (nor Critical Commons) is required to create an account, but instructors can create a special account that will allow them to download the files for their local drives.
Having your Critical Commons account tagged as an instructor account requires only providing your university-affiliated email during the registration process. Once approved, you’ll be able to login to Critical Commons and download each video to your computer or share a link directly to the video hosted on Critical Commons.