Schools Training

‘If I Were a Rich Man:’ US Professors Use Musicals to Teach Economic Theory

17 NOV 2015
Career Path : Education News
Drawing money symbol stave on wall

Inspired by musicals like RENT and Fiddler on the Roof, some savvy American economics instructors have begun shaping their lessons around Broadway songs.

Susquehanna University economics professor Matt Rousu is at the helm of Broadway Economics, a musical-based teaching strategy that’s catching on throughout the American higher-education scene.

Rousu says the idea of explaining complex economic theory through music came from a viewing of Frozen, when he realized there was only one thing to say about an unrecoverable “sunk cost:” let it go.

In his words, he realized musicals are a “non-threatening way a student might be able to learn a topic that can be tough.”

Now, Rousu has created a website connecting Broadway songs to over 30 topics of study—everything from supply-and-demand to marginal unity and beyond. And the musical approach has reportedly been adopted into economics programs at Pennsylvania’s Clarion University, The University of Arizona, and New York City’s St. John’s University.

While professors say there’s no empirical evidence of whether the lyrics improve their classes’ comprehension or memory of economics concepts, they do claim a much lower class drop-out rate than before. If the trend continues, jazz hands might just be headed to a university classroom near you.

Source: Times Higher Education