About Economics of Star Wars

Star Wars is one of the most popular movie franchises of all time. Economics of Star Wars aims to teach economic concepts using examples from Luke, Leia, Han, Darth Vader, and the other characters from the Galaxy Far, Far, Away. Star Wars provides an opportunity to teach economics acts as a reminder that economics is hidden in the world, or should we say worlds, around us.

Economics of Star Wars could be used as a teaching resource for both students who wish to learn economics on their own and by educators who wish to integrate these clips into their classroom. Each clip is provided with a brief explanation of how the scene relates to economics as well as some discussion questions to help stimulate a classroom discussion. We hope this site will help economics students learn economics by being able to relate the concepts to stories they know. We also hope Star Wars fans may enjoy seeing the economic lessons that are hidden in the stories that they love.

If you have any questions or identify an example of Economics in a “Star Wars” film, please Contact Us and let us know!

About the Creators

Economics of Star Wars was developed by Dr. Ben Smith, Dr. Matthew Rousu, and research assistant Bailey Hackenberry.

Ben Smith

Ben Smith is an Associate Professor of Economics and the Economics Department Chair at the University of Nebraska – Omaha. Dr. Smith’s education research portfolio includes learning measurement issues, student incentives, and non-traditional teaching techniques. Additionally, Dr. Smith develops free education software tools that allow instructors to put education theory into practice in their classroom; these tools, collectively, are used more than 5000 times per week. Popular tools include: Grade Nudge, Create Random Assignments, and Assessment Disaggregation.

Recent education software work supports instruction across the entire College. As the developer of the College early alert and tutor tracking system, Dr. Smith’s work indirectly incentivizes thousands of students per semester using research-supported techniques.

Dr. Smith received his undergraduate and Ph.D. from Washington State University.

Matthew Rousu

Matthew Rousu is Professor of Economics and Dean of the Sigmund Weis School of Business at Susquehanna University. Dr. Rousu has done research on teaching and constantly tries to keep students engaged. Recently this meant “flipping” his classes which allows for more active learning. Dr. Rousu has helped teach other economics faculty how to become more engaging professors at conferences and has co-led pedagogy workshops across the country. He also created and maintains the website Broadwayeconomics.com. Dr. Rousu’s book Broadway and Economics: Economic Lessons from Show Tunes was published in June 2018 by Routledge.

Dr. Rousu has been quoted widely on many issues. Among the outlets that have interviewed or quoted Dr. Rousu are BBC World News, Forbes, Fox News, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report and The Washington Post. He has also been a guest for many radio shows and podcasts. He has received several external grants and has received awards for both his teaching and research.

Dr. Rousu earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Dakota and a Ph.D. in Economics from Iowa State University.

Bailey Hackenberry

Bailey Hackenberry is obtaining his BS in Finance and BA in Economics at Susquehanna University and is expected to graduate in May 2021. He is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the top honor society for AACSB Accredited Business Schools.

Hackenberry has worked as a research assistant for Dr. Rousu for two years, including on a $15,000 grant from NIH to study smokers’ demand for e-cigarettes, which he presented on alongside Dr. Rousu at the 2019 Pennsylvania Economics Association Conference.


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