‘Another Day, Another Vlog’: The Alchian-Allen Theorem, Social Media, and Long-Distance Relationships

Laura J. Ahlstrom, Franklin G. Mixon, Jr.

Principles of economics students often find discussions of the Alchian-Allen theorem to be highly interesting, yet the traditional examples of this theorem presented by instructors do not always appeal to them. This paper describes an application of the Alchian-Allen theorem’s implications to long-distance romantic relationships and how long-distance couples can mitigate the costs associated with long-distance romance through video logging, or vlogging, on YouTube. Couples involved in a long-distance romance are able to use YouTube to generate income by vlogging about the costs and benefits of being in a long-distance relationship. Some of these vlogs are very popular and maintain thousands of subscribers and millions of views. As social media usage becomes more popular and more of today’s college students are involved in long- distance relationships, principles of economics instructors may find this application of the Alchian-Allen theorem particularly interesting and relevant to their students’ lives.

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