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Great Big Stuff (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels)

Freddie is asked what he wants – and he doesn’t hesitate to answer. He wants all sorts of things. This would be a good song to play to introduce the concept of marginal utility and/or the marginal utility of wealth. If you don’t have much money, receiving $10,000 can be life-changing. But after you’re already […]

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A Musical (Something Rotten)

The Bottom brothers are playwrights competing with William Shakespeare in the 1590s. Shakespeare is brilliant, of course, so these brothers need to figure out the next innovation for their business to be successful. They are told to create a musical. This song is a great introduction to a discussion of entrepreneurship or product differentiation. Entrepreneurs […]

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What Kind of Man? (Curtains)

The singers here describe a job that is so terrible and that only a disgusting person could possibly take it. (For those who haven’t seen this clip before, I won’t spoil the fun by ruining what job they’re discussing. It’s funny.) For jobs that are dangerous or not-enjoyable, workers usually must be paid a higher […]

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Simple Joys (Pippin)

The Singer is describing a couple economic issues in this song. First, despite having power and material wealth, the subject of this song isn’t happy. This song might be good to lead into a discussion of the diminishing marginal utility of money or wealth. It also illustrates trade-offs, as the singer asks a series of […]

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Airport Song (Honeymoon in Vegas)

Jack wants to get from Kauai to Las Vegas as soon as possible. The initial price quoted is exorbitant, and then the airline employees discuss other routes that might be more-reasonably priced. This song provides a great introduction of price discrimination. Airlines attempt to charge customers different prices based on how much they’re willing to […]

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Molasses to Rum (1776 The Musical)

Thanks to J. Brian O’Roark for creating this video and for the description below. The musical 1776 tells of the battle in the Continental Congress over signing the Declaration of Independence. The song Molasses to Rum addresses what the south viewed as the hypocrisy of the north regarding the slave trade. It is fairly safe […]

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Gaston (Beauty and the Beast)

No one does anything like Gaston. He’s the best! (If you doubt it, just ask him!) In this song, we learn about how Gaston is better than anybody else at just about any task. Economists would say that Gaston has an absolute advantage in production – he can do any of the tasks better than […]

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Everybody Out (Made in Dagenham)

As stated in Wikipedia (link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_sewing_machinists_strike_of_1968#cite_note-wainwright-4): The Dagenham sewing machinists walked out when, as part of a regrading exercise, they were informed that their jobs were graded in Category B (less skilled production jobs), instead of Category C (more skilled production jobs), and that they would be paid 15% less than the full B rate […]

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Gold (Once)

In this love song in Once, “Guy” sings to “Girl”. He wouldn’t trade her for gold. He also discusses what would happen if “your life were gold” with the question, “how long do you think you’d stay living?” This song presents nice examples of tradeoffs, but where it really adds a unique voice is to […]

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