This song is older but is still useful as a discussion about investing in human capital. Human capital is much more than just getting a degree. Human capital also involves general knowledge (what do you know?), skills (what can you do?), experience (where have you been?), and personal characteristics (are you reliable? do you work well with others?). If you have a small enough class, ask students to identify investment in these characteristics based on the story in the song. Not only does the song tell a good story, but it also shows that there’s more than one way to get an education.
Bruno Mars lists out all the things he could be doing that day if he he hadn’t decided to just lay in bed and be lazy. Even though choosing to lay in bed doesn’t have any monetary costs associated with it, it doesn’t mean that there are no costs to his decision. Every decision people make (even Bruno Mars) has an opportunity cost. While he may have a millions of dollars in his bank account, he still only has 24 hours in a day like the rest of us.
In this video, Lil’ Dicky interviews with Snoop Dogg for a position as a professional rapper. There’s one section early in the song that looks at the concept of opportunity costs. Lil’ Dicky (David Burd) was a college graduate from University of Richmond, but decided to become a rapper instead. During the “interview” with Snoop, he mentions that he actually had a lot to lose by becoming a rapper compared to other rappers who became rappers because they had nothing else to do. Another interesting application of the video could be in teaching unemployment and focusing on skills necessary for particular jobs. Lil Dicky needs to apply for a job with Snoop because other people haven’t appreciated his rap skills.
LYRICS (emphasis added)
So real shit you ain’t never had to struggle for much
I wouldn’t say it like that, we just had a different kind of trap
Well I ain’t never had a tool, but I had to be the man at school
Like I was doing shit I had to do so when I finished undergrad
I’m cool and I can get whatever job I wanted
But the job you wanted wasn’t all that bumping
Yeah, and I saw it quick all the flaws that be coming when you grow up like that
Know you been racing them rats, you ain’t been making them raps
Boo hoo what a hardship
How you paid to get the rap shit started?
Man, my Bar Mitzvah money But don’t diss me buddy, I wasn’t one of them younguns up on the block who had nothing to lose I must’ve wanted this a lot, I had something to choose
Check out the snippet of the entire song on this tweet:
Lil’ Dicky shows the process of trying to make the most epic rap video of all time, but without spending much money. The entire song looks at a variety of ways that Lil’ Dicky tries to save money and avoids spending money on unnecessary expenditures “just to flex.”
Beyonce does a great job discussing just how valuable she is as a partner (inelastic), but that her man isn’t all that special because “I could have another you in a minute” (elastic). These are good lines to talk about perfectly inelastic and perfectly elastic demand.
If you haven’t driven by YUM!’s combination stores, they are a site to see. A family of picky eaters can stop by a location and grab a combination (depending on the pairings) of pizza, tacos, fried chicken, fish, or burgers. The combination of stores varies depending on the area, and some even have three-in-one:
This song (and accompanying picture) can serves a great introduction to the concepts of product differentiation and economies of scope. The YUM! brands have a large presence in major categories in the fast food market:
Travis didn’t hesitate to reach out and suggest this catchy song about two popular snacks that they enjoy eating. The first question that comes to mind is if the two snacks are complements or substitutes for one another, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a combination bag from Frito-Lay soon.
Since I’m not a macroeconomist, I have very little content on the macro side from tv and movies, but apparently music covers a lot of macro topics. The first suggestion was this 1975 Billy Paul song, Let the Dollar Circulate which begs for money to start flowing through the economy and wonders why things have slowed down (Is it all because of Watergate?). Paul notes that “Things are gettin’ higher, makes it hard on the buyers” (inflation is happening) and “Unemployment on the rise.” The song was released at the end of the 1973-1975 recession. I was curious what unemployment and inflation looked like in the 1970s leading up to the recession, so I went and put together a FRED chart for you:
One of the fun topics of decision making is to ask students if they have ever been stuck in a relationship they weren’t happy with, but they continued dating that person anyway. The most common response to why this occurs is that the students have invested a lot of time in the relationship and they don’t want to see it wasted. This example is an introduction to the irrational decision making people often go through because of their resiliancy to focus on sunk costs when they should be ignored. Kyle and Kehlani’s new song goes through the same tough decision because both feel like they’re being played with. Kyle and Kehlani both ask:
Girl, why are you playin’ with me? I don’t got the time for that Might need me a refund, haha I’ma need that time back
Since neither can get their time back, if they are unhappy or anticipate being unhappy in the future, they should rationally move on from each other.
I heard this one on the radio and forgot that I used it one semester online to talk about structural unemployment. This could also be a good song to play before class if you play music before you begin your lecture. I may be a bit more fortunate since I teach in Pennsylvania.