Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics > Teaching Methods > Using Media to Enhance Teaching and Learning > Examples > "Closer to Free" by The BoDeans

"Closer to Free" by The BoDeans

Linda S. Ghent, Eastern Illinois University
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This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project

Summary

This flash animation for the song "Closer to Free" provides the perfect backdrop for discussing the concept of economic freedom. The animation text describes the Economic Freedom of the World index, provides a summary of countries with high and low values of the index, and highlights the importance of economic freedom in a country's standard of living.

Learning Goals

Context for Use

This flash animation works well when examining standards of living around the world. The animation runs the length of the song (4:33). Class discussion and review of the Economic Freedom of the World website will take 10-15 minutes (or longer if student interest is high).

Description and Teaching Materials

Go to musicforecon.com

If you have not registered, you must to get a password to have access to the library of animations. Scan down and click on the animation for "Closer to Free."

After the animation ends, show students the Economic Freedom of the World website.

Teaching Notes and Tips

The instructor should register and receive the password to the Music for Economics website ahead of time.

This animation can be a start to a discussion on the factors that affect a country's standard of living. Using the Economic Freedom of the World website, comparisons across countries can be drawn. Special care should be used to emphasize that economic freedom is related to income, but is affected by many other factors as well.

It should be noted that the numbers in this animation come from the Economic Freedom of the World index computed by economists James Gwartney and Robert Lawson. This index is provided through the Fraser Institute. The Heritage Foundation also calculates its own Economic Freedom Index.

Assessment

Class discussion about economic freedom will allow students to discuss the factors that impact a nation's standard of living and provide their views on the relative importance of each.

The instructor could allow each student to choose a country and examine how its Index of Economic Freedom relates to the United States. The student could then write a short essay (1-2 paragraphs) summarizing how this country differs from the U.S.

References and Resources

The (http://www.musicforecon.com) Music for Economics website contains numerous flash animations of popular music that instructors can use in economics courses. These are especially useful in Principles courses.

The Economic Freedom of the World index uses 42 distinct pieces of data to measure economic freedom in 141 nations.

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