Wednesday Thoughts: The Economics of Frank Sinatra

Updated: Apr 23, 2021


I recently wrote:

Listen to Sinatra to hedge against market risks in the dating market. How? He is an icon of gentlemanly flirtation. You also become a more interesting person because most people your age are not listening to him—a counter signaling of some sort. You also end up with ample quotable lyrics on dates...

Here’s the more fleshed-out version of that argument.

To understand Sinatra in this context, let us model attraction (I admit, this model is challenging to implement it’ll help us think through Sinatra’s effects) in the dating market using what we’ll call the attraction function:

Yt = F(At, Pt, Dt)

Here Yt is the choice variable, i.e., you finding a partner. At is your level of attractiveness, i.e., where you rank on a scale of one to ten (this is hard to identify, but assume that it objectively exists.) Pt represents the tastes of participants in the dating market at time t, and Dt represents developed skills and personality traits that make you more attractive. With all of that specified, we interpret the function as this: your ability to find a partner is dependent on your attraction, developed skills and personality traits, and the tastes of participants in the market. All variables in the above function happen at time t. In this model, Dt is that which you have the most control over, which is where Sinatra comes in. Sinatra’s music is a Dt augmenting technology. The updated model becomes this:

Yt = F(At, Pt, αDt)

This is based on the observation that songs (poetry or any type of art in this form) are skills, personality, life, and experience augmenting technologies. That is, they have the ability to influence you in non-obvious ways or ways that are mostly rational in retrospect. In this context, Sinatra’s flirtation and mass appeal that drew him the huge crowds, to begin with, augments your skills and personality traits. You can also be confident that the lindy effect will hold firm in his case. Don’t believe me? Well, check out songs like his rendition of “Angel Eyes” and “Fly Me To The Moon.” So listen to as much Sinatra in general. At least, definitely, before you go on a date, that’s my recommendation. Also, memorize as many poems, songs, psalms, hymns as possible because they also are augmenting technologies.

It is necessary to stress Sinatra will just get you in the door with who you have your eyes on. To stay married, well, I don’t know. Ask your parents... unless you also want to be married four times.

Although most of his works are good, one would have to consider the time period. Sinatra in the late 50s and early 60s, right after he clawed his way back to the top, is a gold mine. I believe Sinatra was best during his time with the Rat Pack through his comeback from retirement. He was a much more seasoned singer and person—case in point here and here. For his best album, I’m with the market. Frank Sinatra Duets takes the cake.


Certainty rating: 81%


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