In honor of the release of the final Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, two Lehigh University economics students decided to investigate what it would cost to attend the prestigious Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Their blog post, How Much Does It Cost to Go to Hogwarts?, attracted major media attention in outlets including the Washington Post, Time and the Huffington Post as the film opened to boffo box office business of $476 million worldwide.
Anjan Gupta '12 and Dan Maryanovich '12 are two members of The Economics Society at Lehigh who run the blog, Centives, a collection of interesting economics studies akin to the popular New York Times bestseller, Freakanomics. The undergraduates have written previously on whether law school is worth the price of admission and the economics of movie theater popcorn.
For this, their most popular entry, Gupta and Maryanovich made a few assumptions to arrive at their conclusion that a year at Hogwarts costs approximately $42,752. The price includes tuition (based upon the average cost of England’s most prestigious—and real—boarding schools) as well as estimated costs for all the items detailed on page 51 of the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: robes, a plain pointed hat, dragon hide gloves and a winter cloak.
After just a few short days online, with a push from Lehigh’s Twitter account, the Centives blog received more than 18,000 page views and more than 400 re-tweets.
“The response has been unbelievable for us,” Gupta says. “We’re still getting thousands of views a day and we’ve been reading through Twitter posts about it from all over the world. Dan and I are talking to each other every day to see if we can build on this and continue to produce things that people would like to read.”
College of Business and Economics Dean Paul Richard Brown says the efforts of Gupta and Mayanovich “demonstrate the ingenuity and energy of so many of our students. The Harry Potter books and films are a global phenomenon, so it’s wonderful that Anjan and Dan applied their economics background and imagination to a subject that fascinates and delights so many.”