Can you answer these real Jeopardy! clues about the economy?

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May 9, 2019
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Can you answer these real Jeopardy! clues about the economy?

Game shows rank among television's most lasting formats, with America's connection to shows like "The Price Is Right" and "Wheel of Fortune" enduring decade after decade. Perhaps no show is as beloved as "Jeopardy!," however, which has been a TV staple since the mid-1960s. Few shows are as revered as that game show, helmed by adored television personality Alex Trebek and featuring a backward format of providing contestants with the answers first as clues.

Show contestants work their way through Jeopardy! and Double Jeopardy! rounds, each with six categories comprised of five clues of varying difficulty and prize amounts. Almost every one of those clues and answers can be found catalogued at the fan-created "Jeopardy!" Archive (updated through April 2019), which one industrious writer at Slate downloaded to do some data scraping; he came up with the top 10 most frequently used categories in Jeopardy!, Double Jeopardy!, and Final Jeopardy! rounds: 

- Jeopardy!: "Stupid Answers," "Nature," "Hodgepodge," "4-Letter Words," "Common Bonds," "Pop Music," "Potent Potables," "Sports," "Food & Drink," "Fruits & Vegetables" 

- Double Jeopardy!: "Chemistry," "Physics," "Classical Music," "Before & After," "Art," "Opera," "Art & Artists," "Ballet," "Theatre," "Architecture"

- Final Jeopardy!: "U.S. Presidents," "World Leaders," "Famous Names," "Famous Americans," "Historic Names," "Authors," "State Capitals," "Word Origins," "Business & Industry," "Americana"

We also conducted a deep dive using the archive to come up with 25 clues related to the economy, business, and money. From Gresham's Law to fiscal cliffs, this quiz spans generations of "Jeopardy!" content and represents the range of difficulty the show is famous for.

Think you have what it takes? Click through to put your financial knowledge to the test and see if you have the mettle to be a "Jeopardy!" champion like James Holzhauer or Ken Jennings.

You may also like: Can you answer these real Jeopardy! clues about your state?

Clue #1

A downturn in the U.S. economy from 1836 to 1838 was partly caused by a lack of confidence in this common type of currency.
- Category: ECONOMICS
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: June 29, 2017

Answer #1: Paper currency

People began using paper currency backed by silver or gold starting in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the late 1600s. The trend quickly spread throughout fledgling settlements. Values fell as colonists were unable to redeem the paper money for silver or gold. The Continental Congress in 1775 created the first federally standardized currency to fund the Revolutionary War; yet with this money relying on expected future tax revenues, its value was tenuous. With heavy inflation and without actual backing, faith in the currency fell off. By 1836, President Andrew Jackson launched the Free Banking Era of unchartered free banks and state-chartered banks.

Clue #2

From 1947 to 2007 these downturns averaged about a year each; then the U.S. economy encountered a "great" one.
- Value: $1,600
- Date episode aired: Nov. 15, 2015

Answer #2: Recessions

Recessions—contractions in business cycles—are indicators of slumps in economic activity. By most counts, the United States has weathered 47 recessions in its history. These range from the Panic of 1797, which came about from land speculation, to the dot-com bust in 2001.

Clue #3

Theories that try to explain this steady rise of prices include cost-push and demand-pull.
- Category: THE ECONOMY
- Value: $200
- Date episode aired: Dec. 21, 2011

Answer #3: Inflation

Inflation is represented by a rise in price that coincides with a drop in money's buying power, which most economists believe is directly due to the printing of more money. The inflation rate in the United States is currently 1.9% for the year leading up to March 2019, according to information published April 10, 2019, by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Clue #4

This company has been "helping the world invest better since 1993."
- Value: $1,000
- Date episode aired: April 15, 2019

Answer #4: The Motley Fool

The Motley Fool was founded in 1993 as a multimedia financial services company. The name was taken from the Shakespeare play "As You Like It." The Motley Fool offers various personal financial services and advice to investors.

Clue #5

In 2013 this company said it would shrink its store base and focus more on Nook tablets.
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: June 21, 2013

Answer #5: Barnes & Noble

Charles M. Barnes in 1873 opened a book-printing company out of his home in Wheaton, Ill. In 1917, his son took the business to new levels by opening a bookstore in New York City called Arthur Hinds and Co. Leonard Riggio came along and bought the company in 1971, changed its name to Barnes & Noble, and turned it into a behemoth the ruled the industry for decades before buckling under the weight of online retailers like Amazon.

Clue #6

Written to protect ships from German U-boats, this 1920 act dealing with shipping was said to be hurting Puerto Rico's economy in 2017.
- Value: $2,000
- Date episode aired: Jan. 31, 2018

Answer #6: Jones Act

The Jones Act stipulates that any goods transported by ferry between U.S. ports be done so on American-built, -owned, and -operated ships. Because said ships are pricier than ships from other countries, virtually all items in Puerto Rico—from machinery to food—are more costly.

Clue #7

This kind of "troll" is a company that buys a bunch of these just to extract money by threatening infringement suits.
- Category: LAW
- Value: $600
- Date episode aired: Nov. 21, 2013

Answer #7: A patent troll

The term "patent troll" came about roughly 20 years ago to describe companies that embroiled themselves in legal battles over infringement to extract licensing fees instead of creating their own products or services. Several U.S. Supreme Court decisions against this sort of activity resulted in a significant drop in patent troll litigation around 2014.

Clue #8

American opposition centered on the monopoly given to this trading company, not the Tea Tax.
- Value: $600
- Date episode aired: Dec. 15, 1986

Answer #8: The (British) East India Company

The English (and eventually British) joint-stock company was incorporated in 1600 to take advantage of trade with India and East and Southeast Asia, most specifically the East Indian spice trade. Following the fall of the Spanish Armada in 1588, England had an opportunity to disrupt the trade monopoly that had once belonged to Spain and Portugal.

Clue #9

Egos, the economy, an air mattress.
- Category: COMMON BONDS
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: May 14, 2014

Answer #9: Get inflated

Ballooning prices affect all components of an economy, from borrowing money to the cost of living. Unchecked inflation can result in significant economic hardship, but carefully managed and lower inflation may increase employment and expand consumer spending.

Clue #10

John Kenneth Galbraith wrote a 1955 book on "The Great Crash" of this year.
- Category: ECONOMICS
- Value: $200
- Date episode aired: Nov. 11, 1996

Answer #10: 1929

John Kenneth Galbraith's economic history book details the windup to Wall Street's 1929 crash. Galbraith posited that the crash was due to speculation and a commonly held perspective that riches could be gained without working.

Clue #11

According to Gresham's Law, "Bad money" does this to "good money."
- Category: ECONOMICS
- Value: $1,000
- Date episode aired: Oct. 29, 1985

Answer #11: Drive it out (of circulation)

This 1860 economics law was named by Henry Dunning Macleod for Sir Thomas Gresham, an English investor in the 1500s, although the concept goes as far back as the fifth century in Aristophanes' play "The Frogs." In Gresham's law, "good money" refers to tender with equal nominal and commodity value. "Bad money" refers to money with a lower commodity value than face value. If both forms are in circulation, the more valuable of the two will, over time, vanish from circulation.

Clue #12

An APR, or annual percentage rate, is a rate of this.
- Category: ECONOMICS
- Value: $200
- Date episode aired: Sept. 27, 1997

Answer #12: Interest

Annual percentage rate (APR) is an interest rate broken down into a yearly rate. Interest rates and APRs are generally the same for credit cards, but for most loans the interest rate and APR may represent two different numbers. Loan APRs may include additional fees, which is why looking at an APR can paint a clear picture of what it will actually cost to get a loan.

Clue #13

Failure to minimize costs is called "X-inefficiency" and is often caused by lack of this, as in a monopoly.
- Category: ECONOMICS
- Value: $1,600
- Date episode aired: March 13, 2007

Answer #13: Competition

The concept of X-inefficiency was put forth by 20th-century economist Harvey Leibenstein. Without competition, companies are not inspired to improve efficiencies and minimize costs to consumers.

Clue #14

The core rate of inflation excludes two volatile items that were extra volatile in 2008; energy is one, this is the other.
- Category: ECONOMICS
- Value: $1,200
- Date episode aired: Oct. 23, 2008

Answer #14: Food

Core inflation refers to the difference in prices for goods and services. Excluded from core inflation are costs within the food and energy industries, which are considered to be more prone to wild fluctuations.

Clue #15

Personal income minus taxes is DPI, this type of personal income.
- Category: ECONOMICS
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: March 13, 2007

Answer #15: Disposable

After accounting for taxes that may include those on income, Social Security, self-employment, and Medicare, what is left is considered a worker's disposable personal income, or DPI. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis tracks citizens' DPI to get a sense of how much people have to spend and put back into the economy, thereby gauging the country's economic health.

Clue #16

This Brit wrote the book on economics: 1936's "The General Theory Of Employment, Interest and Money."
- Category: POTPOURRI
- Value: $1,000
- Date episode aired: June 28, 2013

Answer #16: (John Maynard) Keynes

John Maynard Keynes' 1936 class changed the way people thought of economics. Keynes' ideas helped shape economic policy on government spending, deficits, and more. The book also introduced new ideas to money markets, including liquidity preference, effective demand, and consumption function.

Clue #17

It took more than a "moment," but this Rochester, N.Y., company emerged from bankruptcy and still sells cameras.
- Category: BACK IN BLACK
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: Sept. 11, 2017

Answer #17: Kodak

The company that brought the Super 8 camera to the world in 1965 has gone through many growing pains since, but nothing so severe as the explosion of digital photography and the prevalence of shooting images and video with smart phones. As the last major film company to remain standing after the near-death of analog film, Kodak—which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2012—has in recent years made a comeback and begun re-introducing some classics, including Ektachrome slide film for a redesigned Super 8.

Clue #18

Colloquial term for the president's economic policies [in the 1980s].
- Category: ECONOMICS
- Value: $200
- Date episode aired: Oct. 3, 1984

Answer #18: Reaganomics

President Ronald Reagan put forth a conservative economic policy based on supply-side economics that was designed to tackle the country's 1980 recession, double-digit inflation, and economic contraction. To address all of these issues head-on, Reagan sought to make deep cuts to the expanded money supply in the United States, government spending, regulations, and income and capital gains taxes.

Clue #19

In Mexico, the name of this currency also means "weight," as in the weight of precious metal.
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: Jan. 21, 2019

Answer #19: Peso

The peso got its start in Spain and is still used in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, the Philippines, and Uruguay. One Mexican peso is currently worth about 5 cents in U.S. money.

Clue #20

Sweaty palms aren't great, but this kind of palm means you'll be getting money.
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: June 16, 2017

Answer #20: An itchy palm

For the superstitious among us, an itchy left palm may indicate you're about to come into some money while an itchy right palm means you're going to lose money (or vice versa, depending on whom you ask). The lore got its roots from the Celts and Saxons in pre-Christian Europe, but unsurprisingly has zero science to back it up.

Clue #21

Payment in the form of additional shares in a company is a stock this; unlike a cash one, it's usually not taxed until sold.
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: Dec. 6, 2011

Answer #21: A dividend

Companies without extensive liquid cash may opt to extend stock dividends to investors in lieu of a cash payout. This boon for shareholders is considered small if the reward comprises less than a quarter of the total value of shares, and large if the new shares make up more than 25% of the total share value.

Clue #22

A New Year's Day 2013 House vote kept the economy from sliding over what was known as this.
- Category: U.S. POLITICS
- Value: $400
- Date episode aired: Feb. 14, 2013

Answer #22: The fiscal cliff

A fiscal cliff refers to the immediate threat of an economic downturn caused by multiple and varied financial factors. The threat in January 2013 came about because a number of laws that would raise taxes and lower spending went into effect at the same time.

Clue #23

To issue stock to raise money for a company, or to take advantage of an opportunity.
- Category: PUT A "CAP" ON IT
- Value: $1,600
- Date episode aired: March 20, 2014

Answer #23: Capitalize

Selling stock to the public isn't an option for small businesses. But private sales of stock can be a straightforward way to raise funds without ceding control over who becomes a shareholder and without running up credit card debt or accruing interest on a personal or small business loan.

Clue #24

From the French for "allow to do," it's the doctrine of governmental non-interference in commerce.
- Category: THE ECONOMY
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: Nov. 1, 2016

Answer #24: Laissez-faire

In a laissez-faire economic system, transactions may be completed without government interference by way of tariffs, regulations, subsidies, or privileges. The concept rests on four basic principles: that an individual is a society's basic unit; individuals have the fundamental right to be free; nature is self-regulating; and that corporations are "creatures of the state" that must be watched carefully by the public.

Clue #25

Including currency and other liquid assets, it's the total amount of cash available in a given economy.
- Category: ECONOMICS
- Value: $800
- Date episode aired: Sept. 24, 2015

Answer #25: The money supply

An economy's money supply includes currency in active circulation, as well as on-the-books assets at financial institutions. This supply data is tracked and published (most commonly by the government) and pored over by financial analysts, who widely agree that money supply influences prices, exchange rates, and inflation.

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