Skip to main content

24 August 2021

New book charts unique history of economics on the big screen

A new book by a King’s College London academic charts the unique relationship between economics and cinema and how the disciplines have influenced each other through the years.

Cinema Ticket
Dr Sanchez-Pages' new book looks closely at the relationship between economics and cinema. Picture: STOCK IMAGE

The Representation of Economics in Cinema: Scarcity, Greed and Utopia sheds new light on how filmmakers have portrayed economics and economists on the big screen over the decades and how central economic themes have been represented in cinema.

The book is authored by Dr Santiago Sanchez-Pages, an economist in the Department of Political Economy at King’s, himself a keen cinemagoer who has written about film for several outlets.

Dr Sanchez-Pages said: “The relationship between economics and cinema is most often explored under the premise that films are full of economic ideas and concepts, but I argue the relationship between economics and film is bidirectional.

“For example, the economic climate directly affects cinema’s content and topics. At the same time, the influence of cinema on public opinion is considerable, much greater than that of economics as a discipline.

“Cinema plays a vital role in shaping people’s views on many economic issues and the policy proposals professional economists put forward.”

In the book, Dr Sanchez-Pages examines more than 100 films which feature economists and economic themes, discussing in detail how filmmakers have chosen to represent the field over a century of cinema while offering a new take on the relationship between the two disciplines.

The book seeks to tackle popular misconceptions in how economics is portrayed and shines a light on just how pervasive economics is in cinema, taking in a range of films from Goldfinger to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The themes explored in the book, published by Palgrave, include unions, immigration, globalisation, working women, and automation, contrasting how economists make sense of the economy with how movies do so.

To find out more about the book, and to order a copy, click here.

In this story

Santiago  Sanchez-Pages

Professor of Economics