Zombie Economics

No, this post isn’t about Say’s law. It’s about the economics of zombies. Glen Whitman and James Dow are editing a book, to be published by Rowman & Littlefield, that will examine the economics of the undead, especially zombies and vampires.

Ideal contributions will use economic reasoning to address issues related to the undead, use the undead as a means of exploring economic thought, or both.  Abstracts and final essays should be written in an accessible and engaging style for a popular audience.  Contributions should also make relevant reference to the undead in pop culture, such as the Twilight saga, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the novels of Anne Rice, World War Z, the films of George Romero, True Blood, and The Walking Dead.

Possible topics include: supply and demand in the market for blood; the operation of zombie labor markets; the political economy of responding to undead threats; macroeconomic recovery after a zombie apocalypse; what zombie and vampire behavior tell us about rational-choice modeling; etc.

The editors are soliciting abstracts for potential papers, submission guidelines are here.


Zombie themes are popular with teens and very young adults; there was even a "Zombie Architecture" competition a while ago won by some architects with an aesthetic zombie-proof structure. A fad and silly one at that, but if it gets the young-uns a-reading, it's a good thing.

I'm starting to think that the field of economics is nothing more than trying to attract attention to yourself.

"supply and demand in the market for blood"

Daybreakers (2009) did this one best, IMO.

That was actually one of the things I found perplexing about that movie. They seemed to be living relatively peacefully with one another (the vampires) but had never really secured a steady supply of food. Apparently they had some type of impulse control issue with humans but that was never well explained.

Why didn't humans just become cattle for all intents and purposes? (Or do I always miss something in the introduction that explains this?)

Someone should talk with C. Stross. He has beennthinking along the same lines for a long time. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't turn down a chat with just about anyone, aside from his commitment to tour (he lives in Scotland).

I think he has gamed this scenario twice, but I may be missing something. Reference points; Iron Sunrise, pay attention to Charlie, at his blog, antipope. Pay attention to Scalzi, at his blog, which I do not think needs an introduction.

Don't pay any attention to me.

...That is misdirection,, what I sell is very different.

Shouldn't they use vampire vampires (Bram Stoker, etc.) for the purpose instead of high-school kid vampires whose vamprirism consists in refraining from drinking blood as a symbol of refraining from sex?

The economics of entitlement financing for a population that doesn't die (although presumably they would not need health insurance?).

The zombie apocalypse reduces the number of workers, particularly the old, so the remaining labor force should be younger and able to demand higher wages, spurring further automation and labor saving technology. At the same time, the drastic drop in the population lowers aggregate demand, and the chaos makes it very difficult for the economy to restructure itself around the smaller, more expensive labor force.

Comments for this post are closed