Thursday, April 12, 2007

Timbaland can teach you Economics

There is a new blog that discusses teaching economics through music. They take music from popular song lyrics and then ask questions on the economics behind the song lyrics.

Here are links to a few interesting ones:
Luxurious by Gwen Stefani
The Way It Is / Changes by Tupac Shakur (sampling Bruce Hornsby)
Taxman by The Beatles (relevant to the Laffer curve discussion to continue with our theme in the last few posts)
And because it's Weezer -- Beverly Hills by Weezer

Are there any songs you're currently listening to on your iPod that include some economics in the lyrics? Bonus points for good song suggestions with the relevant lyrics listed.

(Source: Tim Schilling)


Anonymous said...

"You think you gotta keep me iced
You don't
You think I'm gonna spend your cash
I won't
Even if you were broke
My love don't cost a thing
Think I wanna drive your Benz
I don't
If I wanna floss I got my own
Even if you were broke
My love don't cost a thing"
"love don't cost a thing" by jennifer lopez

this is an example of economics because jennifer (we are on a first name basis) is saying that it is inefficient for her lover to buy her expensive gifts, because they are not important to her. This goes along with the economics of gift-giving. she doesn't want expensive gifts, so don't waste your time and money. she wants love and it would be inefficient to buy expensive gifts because she would get utility out of them. the opprotunity cost of just getting her love is high. the opprotunity cost of buying her a mercedez is (average) $60,000 (some a lot higher, a few a little less) that could be used for something more...i dont kids education..a house..etc.


Brian Meier said...

"If I wasnt a celebrity
Would you be so nice to me?
If I couldnt have cheese like everyday
Would you still wanna be with me?
If I couldnt buy you diamond rings
And all those other expensive things
Would you be so into me?
If I wasnt a celebrity"
Celebrity by 'N Sync

They are saying that the only reason that a girl (or guy) wants to be with them is because of the marginal benefits of money and fame. This benefit obviously outweighs the marginal cost of being with one of the members of 'N Sync, even though it would seem pretty high.

Abby said...

"I'm talking Champagne wishes, caviar dreams
You deserve nothing but all the finer things
Now this whole world has no clue what to do with us
I've got enough money in the bank for the two of us
Brother gotta keep enough lettuce
To support your shoe fetish
Lifestyles so rich and famous...
G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S, yeah G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S"
By Fergie (feat. Ludacris)

Unlike J.Lo, Fergie appreciates the expensive gifts. Ludacris and Fergie must have the understanding that Ludacris earn enough "lettue" in order to keep fergie's love because, well, she must maintain her glamorous characteristics. The marginal benefit of their affluent lifestyle is greater than the marginal cost of keeping up with her "shoe fetish." Fergie prefers that the time and money is spent on gifts because their income is not a scarcity, so that is exactly what Ludacris does.

Anonymous said...

"All the riches baby, won't mean anything
All the riches baby, wont bring what your love can bring
All the riches baby, won't mean anything
Don't need no other baby
Your lovin' is better than gold"

Gwen Stefani's song "Rich Girl" is basically saying the same thing as Jennifer Lopez's song. You can not buy her love with expensive gifts that do not mean nearly as much to her as love, and having riches does not impress her. So it will be much cheaper and bring greater benefits to focus on loving her instead of impressing her with money.
Kate C.

Anonymous said...

On the site linked to this post there were a couple examples of Billy Joel songs with economic ties, but one that was left out was "Movin Out (Anthony's Song)" that states:

"Anthony works in the grocery store
Savin' his pennies for someday
Mama Leone left a note on the door,
She said,
"Sonny, move out to the country."
Workin' too hard can give you
A heart attackackackackackack
You oughta know by now
Who needs a house out in Hackensack?
Is that all you get for your money?"

The rest of the lyrics are also applicable, but this excerpt exemplifies the rest, because it is all about opportunity costs. The narrator of the song (presumably Billy Joel) discusses how this life isn't worth it to him, so he is moving out.

Another economic reference in music is in Bloc Party's "Price of Gas" which says:

"I've been driving, a mid sized car,
I never hurt anyone
Is that a fact?
The price of gas keeps on rising
Nothing comes for free"

I do believe that early on in my days of learning economics I heard that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Bloc Party seems to understand that "nothing comes for free" which means that even though the narrator chose to drive a smaller car rather than a larger car so as to save money on gas, he isn't going to end up saving what he thought he would because the price of gas keeps rising.

-Kate Vanderlip

Anonymous said...

"Just to see you smile
Id do anything
That you wanted me to
And all is said and done
Id never count the cost
Its worth all thats lost
Just to see you smile."
-Tim McGraw "Just To See You Smile"

I think this beautiful and sweet country song displays an important idea of economics --MB vs MC. Obviously, Tim really wants to see this girl smile. The MB of seeing her smile is greater than the MC of what he has to do to make her smile.

"When you said time was all you really needed
I walked away and let you have your space
Cause leavin didnt hurt me near as badly
As the tears I saw rollin down your face"

Obviously, Tim would rather give up being with this girl because he doesnt want her to cry. The MC of hurting her outweighs the MB of actually being with her, so he leaves her because that is what will dry her tears.

"And yesterday I knew just what you wanted
When you came walkin up to me with him
So I told you that I was happy for you
And given the chance Id lie again."

The MC of lying is outweigh by the MB of making her cute!

Anonymous said...

"P.S. You Rock My World" by Eels

"...Walked in to the thrif-tee
Saw the man with the hollow eyes
Who didn't give me all my change
But it didn't bother me this time
'cause i know i've only got
This moment
And it's good...

Laying in bed tonight i was thinking
And listening to all the dogs
And the sirens and the shots
And how a careful man tries
To dodge the bullets
While a happy man takes a walk"

Eels' song, "P.S. You Rock My World" deals heavily with opportunity cost. In the first exerpt, the singer talks about how the "man with the hollow eyes" (the devil) has figuratively short-changed him; however, the singer realizes that it is not worth fighting over, because "this good," and the opportunity cost of trying to figuratively get all the change that's due to him would be too high. He doesn't want to have to sacrifice his happiness over a small inconvenience.

The second exerpt, also dealing with opportunity cost, talks about the risks in everyday life, which the speaker compares to an almost unavoidable crossfire. In the speaker's eyes, what one would have to give up to avoid all the risks in life (opportunity cost) is too great to justify trying to do so. One could be a "careful man" and try to "dodge the bullets," but the speaker contests that the benefit of this does not outweigh the cost. The benefit of happiness, however, does outweigh the figurative risk of being shot times the probability of this happening.

-Jordan Croom

marry said...

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