South-Westerns' Economic News Summaries
Goodbye Y2K, hello DST
Subject Expansion of daylight-savings times could create problems with programs set to recognize the current setup of daylight savings time beginning in April and ending at the end of October.
Topic Scarcity, Choice and Opportunity Cost; Supply and Demand; Monopolistic Competition
Key Words

Daylight-saving time, cost

News Story

When daylight-saving time expands by four weeks beginning in 2007, many electronic devices could give consumers big headaches. DVD recorders and VCRs may be programmed with current daylight-saving time zones, but not for the newly expanded zones. Computer calendars won't immediately recognize the change, and some people may miss meetings or come home to find that their TVs taped the wrong shows.

The current daylight-saving time period has been in place since 1987, giving electronic producers time to automatically adjust when daylight-saving begins and ends. Consumers may have to manually override the change, though, when the extended time period begins in two years.

But wait, life gets even a little trickier. Canadian time zones are currently the same as in the US. If Canada doesn't adopt the same change as the US, then computers and other electronic devices will have to recognize two sets of time zones, one set for the US, and one set for Canada.

While this problem doesn't have the same consequences as the Y2K bug did five years ago, it definitely has the potential to create some headaches. Software makers will be forced to come out with patches to help their programs to recognize the change; they have 2 years to do that.


Why would this change in daylight savings time zones be considered an "opportunity cost?"

2. Assuming that this change really does represent a true opportunity cost, what will happen to demand for DVD recorders as 2007 comes closer? Illustrate this with a graph of supply and demand. Why will this happen?
3. Assume that some DVD recorder manufacturers start producing machines that recognize the extension of daylight savings time in 2006. What will happen to their ability to control price at that time? Why?
Source "Extra daylight could add 'bit of complexity." The USA Today 8 August 2005.

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