The most lucrative movie of all time is…

…Taxi Driver, claims Robert Mundell. John Authers has the scoop:

John Hinckley, the deranged would-be assassin who attempted to kill Ronald Reagan in 1981, claimed that he was inspired by [Taxi Driver]… According to Mundell, the wave of sympathy for President Reagan that was engendered by the assassination attempt deterred Democrats in Congress from voting against his proposed tax cuts. Due to this accident of history, the US administered a big fiscal stimulus at the same time that Paul Volcker at the Federal Reserve was administering tight money. This, for Professor Mundell, was vital in creating the era of prosperity that followed.
“Taxi Driver is the most important movie ever made from the standpoint of creating GDP,” Mundell told delegates. “It’s the movie that made the Reagan revolution possible. That movie was indirectly responsible for adding between $5 trillion and $15 trillion of output to the US economy.”

John’s despatches from Vancouver are well worth reading, by the way.

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Tim, also known as the Undercover Economist, writes about the economics of everyday life.