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Economics + Harry Potter

Evening Program

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, August 4, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0051
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Gringotts banking seal, seen in various Harry Potter films


  • This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
  • Platform: Zoom
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The Harry Potter novels may seem like a strange perspective from which to view economics. In a realm filled with magic, we might expect the economic problems that we Muggles face to disappear in a puff of smoke. But even the Boy Who Lived has to come to grips with fiscal reality. Instead of divination class, Harry should have signed up to study the economics of the magical world.

Delving into topics including monetary systems, black markets, corruption, labor issues, human-capital development, utility theory, and more, economist Brian O’Roark investigates how economics pervades the Potterverse. In fact, that irritation in Harry’s scar is probably not just caused by the return of you-know-who. It is also brought on by the Subject That Must Not Be Named. The evening offers the perfect way for wizards of all ages to explore the power of economics.

O'Roark is a university professor of economics at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, a co-author of Essentials of Economics, author of Why Superman Doesn't Take Over The World, and editor of Superheroes and Economics.

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This program is part of an occasional series called Economics+ that examines economics from unexpected and entertaining perspectives.

This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.