Sunday, 10 July 2016

Try this: Broadway economics

The latest issue of the Journal of Economic Education has a short paper about the website Broadway Economics, by Matthew Rousu (Susquehanna University). From the paper:
Songs from musicals tell stories, and many of the concepts we strive to teach our principles of economics students are illustrated in songs such as “Stars” from Les Mis√©rables (inelastic preferences) and “If I Were a Rich Man” from Fiddler on the Roof (inequality, economic growth). While titled Broadway Economics, the site also includes songs from non-Broadway musicals, such as “Let it Go” from Frozen (which illustrates sunk costs). Topics covered more often in upper-level courses such as signaling and screening and consumer time preferences are also well represented by Broadway musical songs.
I'm not much into show tunes, but perhaps you are or you know some economics students who are. The site has videos of the songs, with associated discussion questions that link the song lyrics or theme to economic concepts. For instance, for "Let It Go" from the Disney movie Frozen, the discussion questions are:
1.) What is a sunk cost?
2.) Why should sunk costs be ignored when considering future decisions?
3.) Provide one example where you’ve earned a sunk cost (Hint – the cost need not be a monetary one – it could be time you’ve invested).
 Enjoy!

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