Marina’s Story

Making economics sexy

Marina’s Story
CategoryFaculty
NameMarina Adshade
ProgramEconomics
ActivitiesBlogger, Media Commentator, Author

 

I have a confession to make. I have a Hollywood agent—or to be more precise, my research has a Hollywood agent. It’s surprising, I know.  As an economist, I don’t see myself sitting on a film set, shouting “No, no, no! Demand shifts to the left and supply shifts to the right!” But at least one person in Los Angeles thinks my work is “Hollywood gold.”

How could this research, originally intended for an academic audience, ever attract the interest of an agent?

There is a perception that economics is all about money and wealth creation. However, saying that economics is about money is like saying that engineering is about centimetres, and to argue that the role of economics is to create wealth obscures the power of economic reasoning to explain the human experience.

In 2008, as the economy was crashing and taking the reputation of economics with it, I was thinking of new ways to teach students the tools of my trade in a way that convinced them that economic theory has real life applications beyond forecasting GDP growth rates.

I needed to encourage students to apply economic thinking to their personal lives. And so, with the help of hundreds of published academic papers, the economics of sex and love was born.

When this led to my blog (originally hosted on the university website and later picked up by an influential platform, Big Think) I was able to reach a much wider and more academically diversified audience. That exposure (and, I should say, the learning that goes along with researching and writing for a heavily trafficked blog) led to a book deal and, apparently, the need for a Hollywood agent.

It has been a long time since I thought about my work simply as a fun way to engage students in learning. Topics related to sex and love, such as the effects of free access to contraceptives, the increase in births to single women and the change in the way we think about marriage, have become an important part of the public discourse in recent years. Economists are among the academics who bring an important and at times quirky perspective to that conversation.

In 2008 UBC economist Marina Adshade started a popular new course called the Economics of Sex and Love. She is a blogger, media commentator and author of Dollars and Sex. You can find more about her work at marinaadshade.com.

Photo credit: Martin Dee

Latest Stories

Previous
Lily Takeuchi, UBC medical laboratory science

The diversity of a science degree

How one program fuses research, multiple interests, and career prep.
alumni

The diversity of a science degree

Find out how Medical Laboratory Science made this alum "adaptable for a variety of careers."
Elliot Bellis, Urban Forestry

The urban side of forestry

The student life and career prospects of a UBC forestry student.
student

The urban side of forestry

Urban Forestry student Elliot Bellis busts the stereotypes as he shares what his program is really like, and where his degree can take him.
Sara Amadi, UBC alumni

The global graduate

How a Land and Food Systems alum is wielding her degree around the world.
alumni

The global graduate

Find out how a UBC degree propelled this Bachelor of Science alumna on global adventures and a quest to join the fight against climate change.
Katherine Tourigny, UBC Psychology, UBC Track and Field

Carving a path to UBC Medicine

How research and campus involvement round out your degree.
alumni

Carving a path to UBC Medicine

Find out how this UBC Science undergrad reached her goal of entering Medicine – and travelled to Peru and Antarctica along the way.
peter higgins, purdys, ubc

Becoming a Chocolate Scientist

How a UBC degree was the pathway to Purdy's.
alumni

Becoming a Chocolate Scientist

Discovering his niche within the Faculty of Land and Food Systems led this alum to an exciting career with Purdy's Chocolates.
angela sunario, indonesia, ubc

Finding your university path

How societies, co-ops, and scholarships enrich your degree.
student

Finding your university path

"I promised myself to maximize the different opportunities available at UBC so I can pave my own road."
emmy chahal, ubc

UBC experiences: Travel and research

From New Zealand to Spain to the local community.
student

UBC experiences: Travel and research

"Initially I was planning to major in International Relations, but after a trip to New Zealand with Go Global, I switched to Cultural Studies."
joses akampurira, ubc engineering, ubc okanagan

Life in the School of Engineering

Transitioning to UBC and finding a community on the Okanagan campus.
student

Life in the School of Engineering

"I am proud to belong to UBC – the institution and the community. UBC is like family." – Joses Akampurira, 3rd year, Civil Engineering
next