Vanilla Ice Cream (She Loves Me)

Posted in Labor Economics/Unions/Unemployment, She Loves Me, Signaling and Screening

Amalia is thinking about writing a letter to a potential suitor, but gets distracted because Georg recently brought her ice cream when she was sick.

The fact that Georg brought Amalia ice cream serves as a signal to her that he is a good person and perhaps could be a suitable partner. Signaling happens all the time. Like in the song, it could happen where a person tries to signal to somebody else that he/she would make a good romantic partner, but people could also try to signal to firms that they are a good person to hire.

For a signal to be effective the person seeing the signal must recognize that the activity could signal success. Further, the activity that generates the signal should be costly, but less costly to those who are talented.

This is one reason a college degree is a good signal for many jobs – it isn’t cheap to complete (both in terms of money and effort) but it is tougher for those with lower intellectual skills. Other signals include GPA, the college from which a person graduated, and activities/leadership roles in college.

Discussion Questions for “Vanilla Ice Cream”

Link to Lyrics for “Vanilla Ice Cream”

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Try Me (She Loves Me)

Posted in Education/Human Capital, Labor Economics/Unions/Unemployment, She Loves Me

In “Try Me”, delivery boy Arpad Laszlo is pleading for a promotion. After two years of self-training in Maraczek’s Parfumerie to prepare himself for a potential new job as a clerk, Arpad is trying to convince his boss to give him a chance.

This song provides a good introduction to the value of on-the-job training, as many of the skills Arpad acquired were from working on the job. It also provides a good introduction into the potential costs of high minimum wages – as the boss would be far less likely to pay low-skilled Arpad a higher, government-imposed minimum wage. In the United States and many other countries, the push for higher minimum wages has cost lower-skilled workers entry-level jobs and with that the chance to gain the critical on-the-job training that could lead to higher-paying jobs later in life.

Discussion Questions for “Try Me”

Link to Lyrics for “Try Me”

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