Economic Jokes

This page contains our favorite economics and economist jokes from various sources. We have tried to cite the source whenever possible. If you know of any economics jokes that are not listed below, please send them to either Rick or Jason. If they are good, we will post them. Enjoy.

From the archives of Conan O'Brien:

You must read Greg Mankiw's post from today entitled, "First-year Grad Student Wins Nobel Prize in Economics!" And please do it in the following order. First read what Mankiw wrote about young Quintus Pfuffnick winning the Nobel Prize in Economics (not really). Then click on the link to the AP story about the Nobel Peace Prize award. Well played, Greg.

Here is a fun little video parody from (Thanks to Jason for the link.)

My 9-year-old son showed me this today, and we laughed our heads off together.

Greg Mankiw posted this video sketch yesterday from The Daily Show on a major signal that the housing market has not yet stabilized. Hilarious! My favorite part is when Robert Shiller starts giving advice on how Geithner should redecorate his bathroom.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Home Crisis Investigation
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Political HumorJoke of the Day
Mark Showalter sent me a link to this article in Roll Call last week describing how Democrats blocked House Republicans from mailing the diagram below to their constituents. The diagram below was created by the staff of Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and the Republican staff of the Joint Economic Committee. I thought that this diagram was a funny enough caricature to include on the economic jokes page. However, despite the expansive, complicated, government-private, heavily regulated nature of both current and proposed U.S. health care, ours is probably the most privatized system of all developed countries.

My son found this for me in today's Sunday comics.

BabiesPayStimulus.png (Thanks to Mary Hokanson for sending me this.)


Ran (Rani) Spiegler is a Professor in the Department of Economics at University College London who specializes in game theory and industrial organization. He has a great economics jokes page on his website entitled "Quasi-economics." Most of the links are to satyrical pieces that he has authored. My favorites are "How (not) to write an NSF Grant," a piece about world population per capita, and the Ariel Rubinstein Seminar Comment Generator (ARSECOG). The last paper is particularly funny for anyone who has attended a seminar presentation of an economic theory paper.

(Thanks to Scott Findley for pointing me to this.)
Val Lambson pointed me to this great video of comedian Louis CK on the Conan O'Brien show on 10/2/08. The economic content of the video is that technology has progressed so quickly in recent years, but our baseline utility (happiness) adjusts almost immediately. One of my favorite lines is, "how quickly the world owes him something he knew existed only 10 seconds ago."

Greg Mankiw posted this SNL video of Timothy Geithner commenting on the outcomes of the Treasury's stress tests of the American banking system.

Greg Mankiw posted this video of Barack Obama doing 16 minutes of comedy at the White House correspondents dinner on May 9, 2009 ("the 10-day anniversary of my first 100 days"). I think he closes with a pretty nice commentary about the American press.

I reported on the AEA humor session back in January. This video contains portions of Yoram Bauman's performance. I was sitting on the front row, just to the right of what the camera frame was showing. Enjoy.

Thanks to Kerk for sending me this link and to the folks at Jimmy Kimmel for creating it.

6a00d83451eb0069e201156e9a5b7e970c.jpg Hat tip to The Austrian Economists.


What a smart show- I need to start watching more TV.  South Park picks up on Higgs' "regime uncertainty" and all of Taylor's recent arguments against current monetary and fiscal policy:

Greg Mankiw posted this link yesterday (3/17/09, St. Patrick's Day) to another funny Flash video from the folks at JibJab--Leprechaun Bailout.
This cartoon appeared in the Wall Street Journal today. (Thanks Kerk.)

(Calculated risk posted a variant of this joke today.)

"McDonalds just added another item to its $1 value menu... Citigroup stock!"
A student of mine sent me this cartoon.

A student of mine sent me this bumper sticker.

Here are some of my favorite cartoons about President Obama's nominees and their tax problems. (Thanks to Mary Hokanson for sending these to me.)


Underemployed or Overeducated?

A good one from the New Yorker:

(Kerk Phillips made my morning when I arrived at work today by telling me his discovery of the earliest example of habit persistence that he has ever heard of. The following is taken directly from Kerk's blog.)

"Habit persistence is a relatively new idea in economics and finance which argues that people's utility or sense of well-being rises with a rise in consumption only in the short-run. In the long-run, people become accustomed to higher levels of consumption and these new higher levels yield the same amount of utility as the lower ones did in the past."

"This is not a new concept, however. Last night while reading The Trojan Women, a play by Euripedes dating from 415 B.C., I ran across the following lines spoken by Andromache, Hector's wife, who is discussing the death of another woman, a former princess of Troy."

Andromache: But if the choice is between a miserable life, mother, if it is between a miserable life and death, death is preferable. Because the dead feel no misery and they know nothing of grief, whereas for the living mortals, if a happy woman falls into misery she must deal with the memory of the joy she previously enjoyed. Her soul seeks the joys of the past.
John Cochrane had the following great quote in his insightful article, "Fiscal Stimulus, Fiscal Inflation or Fiscal Fallacies?"

"Others say that we should have a fiscal stimulus to 'give people confidence,' even if we have neither theory nor evidence that it will work. This astonishingly paternalistic argument was tried once with the TARP. Nobody could say how it would work in any way that made sense, but it was supposed to be important do to something grand to give people 'confidence.' You see how that worked out. Public prayer would work better and cost a lot less."

We have commented before on John Cochrane's uncanny ability to deliver biting rebuttals when challenged.

(Thanks to Mark Showalter for sending me this.)
Greg Mankiw posted a link to The Bailout Game this morning, and I couldn't resist putting it up here and on our economic jokes page. Here are a couple of tips for the game. When you get to AIG, don't bail them out and watch what happens. Also, you might enjoy the comments on the little ticker at the bottom of the page.
Do you ever get tired of talking about the economic crisis? I think Jake does in this video.


BernankeClaus.jpg (Thanks to Kerk Phillips for sending me this. It is a month late, but still worth putting up.)
A nice piece of work by Art Carden of Rhodes College. This piece is beautifully sarcastic and can be thought of as Opposite Day for conference attendees

The abstract:
Being an academic, particularly an academic economist, is a task that requires a great deal of preparation and effort. It also requires a great deal of travel. This essay provides helpful suggestions on how to be a Great Conference Participant.

One of my favorite sentences:
"Your paper should be finished no fewer than four business days after
the deadline set by your session chair and no fewer than 20 minutes before you
are actually supposed to present."

Here are some other highlights:
"You go to conferences to do two things: first, you go to demonstrate how clever you are. Second, you go to conferences because they allow you to spend a few days in a really nice place on someone else's dime."

For Presenters:

"Make sure that the text in your slides is written in complete sentences so that they can be read to the audience (more on that later). The rule to remember is this: 'if it's in the
paper, it should be in the presentation.'"

"A good conference presentation is a lot like a good mystery novel, loaded with twists, turns, subtlety, and nuance. Don't give away the ending--you have twenty minutes to get there, so be sure to set the stage and only explain what you have to at the beginning. At conferences, there's nothing more thrilling than an action-packed thirty-second summary of the key result two minutes after your session chair has called 'time.'"

"'Twenty minutes for the papers, five minutes for discussants, five minutes for Q&A' is only a suggestion. There will be plenty of time, and people will understand that they don't have time for discussants/questions/the other papers in the session if you go over by just a little bit."

"Eye contact is your enemy. The floor is your friend. Not sure what to do with your hands? Make sure you bring a few quarters and perhaps your car keys to keep in your pocket and jingle while you're speaking."

"Incompetence and incoherence can be masked with the right combination of arrogance, derision, and condescension. When the going gets tough and someone questions why your model necessarily implies an upward-sloping demand curve for tuna salad which ultimately determines monetary policy, remember: you wrote the paper. They didn't. Make sure they understand this by the time you are finished speaking."

For Discussants:

"An axe to grind. Do you feel that economics has become too quantitative? Do you think economics is not quantitative enough? Do you have reasons for believing that investment should not be counted in GDP? Air those concerns during your discussion. You have heard it said that there is a time and a place for everything. This is that time and that place."

(Side note: I've never seen a bigger discussant "body slam" than Frank Warnock's at the 2009 ASSA meetings on a paper by Pierre Olivier Gourinchas and Helene Rey. And he mentioned many of the problems "suggested" by Carden in this paper.)

"Make sure you begin by talking about what you do, or don't do. And make sure everyone knows that what you do is much better than what they do."

For Audience Members:

"Make sure you carefully get all of your paraphernalia out while the first presenter is presenting. Make sure you have a copy of a publisher's conference booklist to ruffle through loudly in case you get bored."
MadoffOrigin.jpg (Thanks to Mark Showalter for sending this to me.)
What is the difference between Iceland and Ireland?... One letter and about six months.

[Iceland's economy crashed in mid-October, 2008.]

(Thanks to Val Lambson for passing this one along.)
A New York Times Economix blog post from December 31, 2008 gave a link to the cartoons from the October 6, 2008 New Yorker. Below are the ones I thought were the best.


A New York Times Economix blog post from December 31, 2008 gave a link to the's Best Financial Jokes of 2008. Below are the ones I thought were the best.

The problem with investment bank balance sheets is that on the left side nothing is right and on the right side nothing is left.

How do you find a good small-cap fund manager? Find a good large-cap fund manager, and wait.

The credit crunch has helped me get back on my feet. The car's been repossessed.

Definition. P/E Ratio: The percentage of investors wetting their pants as the market keeps crashing.

A plan to bail out the Big Three automakers stalled in Congress today. Yeah. As a result, Congress plans to buy a better-built Japanese bailout plan. (Conan O'Brien)
I met DeForest McDuff a few years ago at an IHS conference, and besides being a nice guy and and a good economist, he and his grad school colleagues have put together a series of videos making fun of the grad school experience.  You can find all the videos here, but my favorite is this one:

One of the best economics music videos out there:


I know it's been a while since this first made the rounds, but it's still a great piece of work. Thanks to a reader for suggesting we archive it on the jokes page. 

For more (and some more recent) work by Columbia B-school students, go to
dilbert010209.gif(Greg Mankiw posted this on Jan. 2, 2009)
The most refreshing session I attended today (Sat., 1/3/08) at the Allied Social Science Association (ASSA) meetings in San Francisco was the first ever Economic Humor session. To non-economists, the mere fact that an economic humor session exists is probably funny (although we do maintain a good economic jokes page on this site). But the three presenters were all very good and also were probably a representative sample of the range of the genre. This session was recorded on video, and a Time Magazine reporter was there. So I am hoping to post a link sometime in the near future. The following is a summary, with highlights, of the three hilarious presentations.

Preston McAfee (Cal Tech, and formerly Univ. of Texas) presided over the session, which was listed as being in honor of Caroline Postelle Clotfelter, editor of the book, On the Third Hand: Wit and Humor in the Dismal Science. McAfee started out by giving the award for the funniest paper of 2008, which went to Gregor Smith's "Japan's Phillips Curve Looks Like Japan" (Journal of Money, Credit and Banking 40:6, 1325-1326 [2008]). His paper consists of no other insight than the fact that a graph of the [negative] unemployment rate and the inflation rate in Japan looks strikingly similar to a map of the country of Japan.

McAfee also mentioned that the journal Economic Inquiry (of which McAfee is the editor and Yoram Bauman is the Miscellany Associate Editor) has two forthcoming humorous articles by Nobel Laureates. I thought I overheard Preston say that one of them was by Bob Fogel, and there is a good chance that the other one might be Krugman's Interstellar Trade piece that we referenced in a previous post. We'll keep you posted as these things come out.

The first presenter of the session was Rob Oxoby (Univ. of Calgary) on "The Efficiency of AC/DC: Bon Scott versus Brian Johnson." Oxoby tested who was a better vocalist for the rock band AC/DC out of Bon Scott and Brian Johnson by running an economic experiment of an utimatum game with human subjects. He let one part of the sample play the game while listening to an AC/DC song sung by Bon Scott and another part of the sample play the game while listening to an AC/DC song sung by Brian Johnson. The result was that amounts offered and offers accepted matched up more closely in the sample listening to Brian Johnson and were, thus, more efficient. According to Oxoby, this was evidence that Brian Johnson was the better lead vocalist.

The second presenter was Peter Orazem (Iowa State). He basically delivered a traditional standup routine that had some economic jokes. One of the funniest was a bit about Donald Trump claiming that he was a member of the Sosumi indian tribe. He also had a great joke about gas prices that went something like this:

"The economy is so bad these days that I miss the old days of $4 per gallon gas prices. It was so nice when you could fill up your car and double its value."

The closer of the session was Yorum Bauman (University of Washington), who bills himself as the standup economist. I posted a link a while ago to his bit on Mankiw's 10 principles of economics. He was absolutely hilarious. The majority of his jokes made fun of macroeconomics, and I hope I can find some video of his bit to post here because he had the standing-room-only crowd roaring with laughter. He did his bit on Mankiw's 10 principles of economics, and he also did a piece on some novel applications of the Lucas Critique.

Tonight was a great night for economic humor. And I hope it is the beginning of a long tradition of humor sessions at the ASSAs.
Catherine Rampell published a post today on the New York Times Economix blog entitled "Take My Economy ... Please!" In addition to her gracious reference and link to our collection of economics jokes, the other links were pretty funny. I'm sure we'll be cataloguing them here soon.

In order of appearance, she included:
1)'s 21 Dumbest Moments in Business 2008
2)'s Best Financial Jokes of 2008
3) The blog in general
4) The New Yorker magazine cartoons from its October 6, 2008 issue
5) Econosseur's collection of economic jokes and cartoons
6) Businessweek's Worst Predictions about 2008

CalvinAndHobbsLemonadeStand.jpg(Thanks to Mary Hokanson for sending this to me.)
(The text below comes from a the Christmas card that I and my family sent out to some of our friends and family.)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Evans family!

There is no RECESSION of Christmas spirit at the Evans home this year, despite the ECONOMIC DOWNTURN. We have moved into our new home in Provo, which represents our own little MORTGAGE-BACKED SECURITY. However, a remaining problem is that our landscaping still has a tendency to cause GREAT DEPRESSION.
Rick's UNEMPLOYMENT RATE has decreased due to his finishing graduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin and starting his new job as an Assistant Professor of Economics at BYU.

Marty has more projects going right now than BEN BERNANKE and HENRY POULSON combined. She has been hosting family, helping out with William's and Jane's classes at the elementary school, and working on making our biggest COLLATERALIZED DEBT OBLIGATION (our house) into a beautiful home. With everything happening on the home front, it sometimes feels like our HOUSING BUBBLE might burst.

The biggest ASSETS in our TREASURY are William (8), Jane (6), and Katie (2). William is turning into a wonderful young boy who will often BAIL OUT his parents by being a good big brother to his two younger sisters. Jane is a sweet INVESTOR in our family's happiness, although she occasionally meets with some COUNTERPARTY RISK from her other two siblings. Katie is best described as a two-and-a-half year old STIMULUS PACKAGE. She is an extremely energetic kid with startling upper body strength (this is no joke).

In summary, our FHI (Family Happiness Index) has increased 4.7% on a seasonally adjusted year over year basis. With Marty's careful OPEN MARKET OPERATIONS and Rick's LABOR MARKET INTERVENTIONS, we hope to avoid any DEFLATION in this number. We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy holiday season. Please feel free to DEPOSIT yourselves on our doorstep any time.


Rick, Marty, Will, Jane, and Katie
RealImpactFactor.png Greg Mankiw posted this on 12/6/08.
Economic inquiry, especially in macroeconomics, benefits from recessions in that they focus attention on questions in the field. As an example, note how many prominent macroeconomists are Argentinian.

FieldtripEconomist.gif(Thanks to Mark Showalter for sending me this.)
I agree with Jason's post that macroeconomics is not dead. But what can you do, if you can't make fun of yourself? The following anagrams come compliments of Kerk Phillips.

Macroeconomics... "cosmic moon race"

Business cycle... "sly sub-science"
Rearranging the letters of 'Auto Industry Bailout' gives:

"It a lousy, burnt-out aid."
"Ruinously aid to a butt."
"At unodious brutality."
"Suitably unadroit out."
"Dubiously taunt a riot."
"Batty or unusual idiot."
"I outlast unadroit buy."
"To a nutty, dubious liar."
"Ya! Bad, nutritious lout."
"Is loud obituary taunt."
"It a burly, odious taunt."
"It dirty unusual taboo."
"Ruinously but it a toad."
"Nuts! It a loud obituary."

(Thanks to Kerk Phillips for sending this in.)
(Thanks to Mark Showalter for sending me these.)

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it!"

(Upton Sinclair, I, Candidate for Governor: And How I Got Licked, (1935) repr. University of California Press, 1994, p. 109.)

Paul Krugman used this quote in his blog post Sunday (Nov. 30, 2008) as the final word in his plea for policy makers to get on board with a big Keynesian fiscal stimulus plan.
Here is the Mike Luckovich cartoon from Friday, November 28, 2008. We do seem to be sliding toward the lower levels of the slippery slope.

Greg Mankiw posted this Mike Luckovich cartoon on Thanksgiving 2008. However, notice that the date of the cartoon is November 16, 2007. And I'll bet we'll be able to use this same cartoon next Thanksgiving.

(This is a Val Lambson original.)

Old definition of "chutzpah": (n) nerve, gall, audacity, insolence, impertenence.

New definition of "chutzpah": reported on a Congressional hearing in which "Skeptical lawmakers grill[ed] auto execs... [and] portrayed the Big Three as both short-sighted... and devoid of vision."
Frank & Ernest

(Thanks to Mark Showalter for sending me this.)
The rule-of-thumb definition for a recession is two consecutive quarters of declining production,...

Or as the L.A. Clippers define it... Halftime.

(Jay Leno. Thanks to John Evans for the reference.)
(Thanks to Jason for sending me a link to this back in July.)

I laughed until tears were coming out of my eyes when I read this letter by John Cochrane dated July 12, 2008, in response to a protest letter circulated at the University of Chicago against the Milton Friedman Institute.  I laughed so hard that I had to stop in the middle of sentences to catch my breath. Here are some of my favorite lines.

"'Global south'. I'll just pick on this one as a stand-in for all the jargon in this letter.  What does this oxymoron mean, and why do the letter writers use it? We used to say what we meant, 'poor countries.' That became unfashionable, in part because poverty is sometimes a bit of your own doing and not a state of pure victimhood. So, it became polite to call dysfunctional backwaters 'developing.' That was already a lie (or at best highly wishful thinking) since the whole point is that they aren't developing. But now bien-pensant circles don't want to endorse 'development' as a worthwhile goal anymore. 'South'--well, nice places like Australia, New Zealand and Chile are there too (at least from a curiously North-American and European-centric perspective).  So now it's called 'global south,' which though rather poor as directions for actually getting anywhere, identifies the speaker as the caring sort of person who always uses the politically correct word."

"'The effects of the neoliberal global order that has been put in place in recent decades....' Notice the interesting voice of the verb. Let's call it the 'accusatory passive.'"

"But honestly, do we really yearn to send a billion Chinese back to their 'local economies,' trying to eke a meager living out of a quarter acre of rice paddy, under the iron grip of some local bureaucrat? I mean, the Mao caps and Che shirts are cool and all, but millions of people starved to death."

"Still, if you start with the premise that the last 40 or so years, including the fall of communism, and the opening of China and India are 'negative for much of the world's population,' you just don't have any business being a social scientist."

"If it's sad to see what 101 professionally distinguished minds at the University of Chicago think about free markets at all, it is to me sadder still how atrociously written this letter is."

"I'm not a good writer. I admire great prose, and I attempt to fill the spaces between equations of my papers with comprehensible words. But even I can recognize atrocious prose when I see it.... I was quoted as saying 'drivel,' and I meant it, not as an insult but as a technically correct description of a piece of prose. We can--and should--happily disagree on all sorts of matters of fact and interpretation, clearly stated, and openly discussed. But there's nothing here to discuss, it's just mush. The saddest aspect of this whole sorry affair is that 100 faculty at such a distinguished institution can sign their names--and with them their intellectual reputations and their sacred honor--to such utter drivel."
"I have a 10-year-old at home, and she is always saying, 'That's not fair.' When she says that, I say, 'Honey, you're cute; that's not fair. Your family is pretty well off; that's not fair. You were born in America; that's not fair. Honey, you had better pray to God that things don't start getting fair for you.'"

(P.J. O'Rourke, Political satirist, in "The Problem is Politics", Cato's Letter: A Quarterly Message on Liberty, The Cato Institute, Spring 2008, Vol. 6, No. 2, p. 5)
For economists who use numerical methods to compute solutions to complex problems, this one is a treat.  This is a link to a post by Peter Norvig, currently the Director of Research at Google, Inc. and formerly chief computational guy at NASA Ames Research Center, Sun Microsystems Labs, UC Berkeley, and USC. In this short article, he proposes different algorithms for quickly getting to your song of choice on the iPod Shuffle, which does not have a display.  His methods include a value function iteration, policy function iteration, and a randomization algorithm--each complete with programming code and simulations to test their effectiveness.

(Thanks to Jason for pointing me to this.)
"'Need' now means wanting someone else's money.  'Greed' means wanting to keep your own.  'Compassion' is when a politician arranges the transfer."

(Joseph Sobran, syndicated political columnist and former National Review writer.  Quote is from his chapter in the book  The Economics of Liberty (Mises Institute) entitled "Back to First Principles.")
A man dies and goes to hell. There he discovers that he has a choice: he can go to capitalist hell or to communist hell. Naturally, he wants to compare the two, so he goes over to capitalist hell. There outside the door is the devil, who looks a bit like Ronald Reagan. "What's it like in there?" asks the visitor. "Well," the devil replies, "in capitalist hell, they flay you alive, then they boil you in oil and then they cut you up into small pieces with sharp knives."

"That's terrible!" he gasps. "I'm going to check out communist hell!" He goes over to communist hell, where he discovers a huge queue of people waiting to get in. He waits in line. Eventually he gets to the front and there at the door to communist hell is a little old man who looks a bit like Karl Marx. "I'm still in the free world, Karl," he says, "and before I come in, I want to know what it's like in there."

"In communist hell," says Marx impatiently, "they flay you alive, then they boil you in oil, and then they cut you up into small pieces with sharp knives."

"But... but that's the same as capitalist hell!" protests the visitor, "Why such a long queue?"

"Well," sighs Marx, "Sometimes we're out of oil, sometimes we don't have knives, sometimes no hot water."

(Taken from the website of Jeffrey Parker at Reed College)
The famous U.S. Senator Everett Dirksen (R-IL, 1950-1969) is attributed with the following statement about U.S. government spending that applies equally well today.

"A billion here, a billion there...and pretty soon you're talking about real money."
Here is a very humorous two-page paper that was published in the Journal of Political Economy in November/December, 1970 (vol. 78, no. 6) by John Siegfried, entitled, "A First Lesson in Econometrics." This farsical proof that 1+1=2 should be simplified into something much more complex appears in the same issue alongside serious papers by Robert Barro, Martin Feldstein, Paul Samuelson, and Milton Friedman. It is a healthy thing for the profession to laugh at itself once in awhile (see Krugman (1978) paper below). Thanks to Jason Debacker for bringing this paper to my attention.

Krugman, Nobel Prize, and Interstellar Trade

In honor of Paul Krugman receiving the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics, I thought it appropriate to point out this underappreciated contribution of his. Regardless of how you might feel about the ideological leanings of Krugman, this 1978 paper of his, "The Theory of Interstellar Trade," can only increase your respect for him (I'm serious). The paper is rich with sarcasm, parody, and inside jokes. On the title page, Krugman thanks the Committee to Re-elect William Proxmire who was a U.S. Senator (D-WI, 1957-1989) who felt that NASA was a wasteful expenditure of government funds. Krugman also cites an unwritten paper of his nine years in the future (1987). Here are some highlights.

"These complications make the theory of interstellar trade appear at first quite alien to our usual trade models; presumably it seems equally human to alien trade theorists."

"This paper, then, is a serious analysis of a ridiculous subject, which is of course the opposite of what is usual in economics."

The concluding paragraph is great as well. Thanks to Jason for bringing this paper to my attention.

Subprime Mortgage Blues

Enjoy this rendition of the "Subprime Mortgage Blues." The Lyrics and slideshow are by Gregg Somerville, and the music is by Chris Conti.  The piece was posted on January 26, 2008.

Greg Mankiw posted this picture that Linda Ghent, economics professor at Eastern Illinois University, sent in.  This was a billboard on a highway outside Charleston, Illinois.  This clever billboard powerfully illustrates the opportunity cost of being cheap with your partner.

You'll appreciate this first video which is a cheeky animated educational piece put out by the European Central Bank. You'll especially like it if you've ever seen the second video, the Federal Reserve's "The Fed Today," narrated by Charles Osgood. Who do you think would win if the ECB video's Inflation Monster were to fight the Fed video's stop-animation Eagle? And who is more fun to watch, the ECB video's hip pair of students or the Fed video's bowtie-clad Osgood?

This video is a great animated piece called "The Consumer Decision Making Zone", that illustrates the principles of private information, moral hazard, and the lemons problem.

This video is someone's interpretation of what it is like to go through Greg Mankiw's principles of economics text at Harvard.

"There is nothing wrong with supply-side economics that division by ten wouldn't fix."

(Herbert Stein, as quoted by Greg Mankiw comparing the true-but-overstated attention that Al Gore has drawn to climate problems to the true-but-overstated problems of high tax rates highlighted by supply-side economists during the 80s.)
The Yield Curve walks into a bar. The Bartender says, "Hey, you're really getting into shape!" The Yield Curve replies, "Yep. I believe the Expectations Hypothesis is working on my slope!" The bartender inquires, "Are you sure?" to which the Yield Curve responds, "I'm positive."
This is a video of Yoram Bauman, the standup economist. He does a hilarious bit on Mankiw's 10-point description of economics.  He has more stuff about himself at

If it moves, tax it.  If it keeps moving, regulate it.  And if it stops, subsidize it.
"Another difference between Milton [Friedman] and myself is that everything reminds Milton of the money supply.  Well, everything reminds me of sex, but I keep it out of the paper."

(Robert Solow, 1966)
You might be a graduate student if...
•  You can analyze the significance of appliances you cannot operate.
•  Your carrel is better decorated than your apartment.
•  You have ever, as a folklore project, attempted to track the progress of your own joke across the Internet.
•  You have ever brought a scholarly article to a bar.
•  You rate coffee shops by the availability of wireless Internet.
•  Everything reminds you of something in your discipline.
•  You have ever discussed academic matters at a sporting event.
•  You have ever spent more than $50 on photocopying while researching a single paper.
•  You can tell the time of day by looking at the traffic flow at the library.
•  You look forward to summers because you're more productive without the distraction of classes.
•  You find the bibliographies of books more interesting than the actual text.
•  You have given up trying to keep your books organized and are now just trying to keep them all in the same general area.
•  You have accepted guilt as an inherent feature of relaxation.
•  You find yourself explaining to children that you are in "20th grade".
•  You start referring to stories like "Snow White et al."
•  You frequently wonder how long you can live on pasta without getting scurvy.
•  You look forward to taking some time off to do laundry.
•  You wonder if APA style allows you to cite talking to yourself as "personal communication".
•  You are constantly looking for a thesis in novels.
•  You consider caffeine to be a major food group.
•  You've ever traveled across two state lines specifically to go to a library.
•  You appreciate the fact that you get to choose which twenty hours out of the day you have to work.
•  Saturday nights spent studying no longer seem weird.

On the One Hand... the Economist's Joke Book

The jokes in this post come, with permission from the author, from the only economics joke book I know of, On the One Hand... The Economist's Joke Book, by Jeff Thredgold. You can purchase the book from his website.

A man was sent to Hell for his sins.  As he was being processed, he passed a room where an economist he knew was having an intimate conversation with a beautiful woman.

"What a crummy deal!" the man complained.  "I have to burn for all eternity and that economist spends it with that gorgeous woman."

An escorting demon jabs the man with his pitchfork and shouts, "Who are you to question that woman's punishment?"

Economics is the only field in which two people can receive a Nobel Prize for saying exactly the opposite thing.

Christopher Columbus was perhaps the first economist. When he left to discover America, he didn't know where he was going.  When he got there, he didn't know where he was.  When he returned, he didn't know where he had been.  And it was all done on a government grant!

Three economists went out hunting and came across a large deer.  The first economist fired but missed by a yard to the left.  The second economist fired, but also missed by a yard to right.  The third economist didn't fire, but shouted in triumph, "We got it!  We got it!"

Did you hear the one about the economist who dove into her swimming pool and broke her neck?

She forgot to "seasonally adjust" her pool.

An "acceptable" level of unemployment means that the economist to whom it is acceptable still has a job.

An elderly economics professor stands near the shallow end of the campus swimming pool.  A female student stands near the deep end taking pictures.  She suddenly drops the camera into the pool.

She then motions for the professor to come to her.  He goes to her, and she asks him to retrieve the camera.  He agrees, dives in, and retrieves it.

Upon returning, he says to her, "Why did you ask me to retrieve the camera when there were many younger and more athletic men closer to you?"  She replied, "Professor, I'm in your Economics 101 class.  I don't know anyone who can go down deeper, stay down longer, and come up any dryer than you."

A recession is when your neighbor has lost her job.  A depression is when you lose yours.

One day, a woman went for a walk in her neighborhood and came across a boy with some puppies.  "Would you like a puppy?" asked the boy.  "They aren't ready for new homes quite yet, but they will be in a few weeks!"

"Oh, they're adorable," the lady said.  "What kind of dogs are they?"  "These are economists," replied the boy.

"O.K.  I'll tell my husband."  So she went home and told her husband.  He was very interested in seeing the puppies.

About a week later, he came across the lad.  The puppies were very active.  "Hey, Mister.  Want a puppy?" said the boy.  "I think my wife spoke with you last week," stated the man.  "What kind of dogs are these?"

"Oh.  These are decision analysts," stated the boy proudly.  "I thought you said last week that they were economists," stated the man.

"Well yes," replied the boy.  "But now their eyes are open."

A veteran economist and a rookie economist are walking down the road.  They come across a spoiled apple lying on the asphalt.  Says the veteran economist, "If you eat it, I'll give you $20,000!"

The rookie economist runs his optimization model and figures out that he's better off eating it.  He does so and collects the money.

Continuing along the same road, they almost step on a spoiled banana.  The rookie economist states, "Now, if you eat that banana, I'll give you $20,000."  After evaluating the proposal, the veteran economist eats the spoiled fruit, and soon collects the money.

As they continue walking, the rookie economist starts thinking and states, "Listen.  We both have the same amount of money we had before, but we both ate spoiled fruit.  I don't see us being better off."

Replies the veteran economist, "Well that's true, but you overlook the fact that we've just been involved in $40,000 of trade."

A woman hears from her doctor that she has only half a year to live.  The doctor advises her to marry an economist

The woman asks, "Will this cure my illness?"  The doctor answers, "No.  But the six months will seem like a lifetime."

A man walking along a road in the countryside comes across a shepherd and a huge flock of sheep.  He tells the shepherd, "I will bet you $100 against one of your sheep that I can tell you the exact number in this flock."

The shepherd thinks it over.  It's a large flock, so he accepts the bet.  "There are 973 sheep," says the man.  The shepherd is astonished, because the man is exactly right.  "O.K., I'm a man of my word.  Take one."  The man picks one up and begins to walk away.

"Wait," cries the shepherd.  "Let me have a chance to get even.  Double or nothing that I can guess your occupation."  The man agrees.

"You are an economist for a government think tank," says the shepherd.  "Amazing!" responds the man.  "You are exactly right!  But tell me, how did you deduce that?"

"Well," says the shepherd, "Put down my dog and I'll tell you."

Back during the Solidarity days, the following joke was being told in Poland:

A man goes into the Bank of Gdansk to make a deposit.  Since he has never kept money in a bank before, he is a little nervous.

"What happens if the Bank of Gdansk should fail?" he asks.  "Well, in that case your money would be insured by the Bank of Warsaw."

"But what if the Bank of Warsaw fails?"  "Well, there'd be no problem, because the Bank of Warsaw is insured by the National Bank of Poland."

"And if the National Bank of Poland fails?"  "Then your money would be insured by the Bank of Moscow."

"And what if the Bank of Moscow fails?"  "Then your money would be insured by the Great Bank of the Soviet Union."

"And if that bank fails?"  "Well, in that case, you'd lose all your money....But wouldn't it be worth it?"

"Someone once said about economists that they use economic data the way a drunkard uses a lamppost--for support rather than illumination."

"Or as Disraeli put it, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics."  (Paul Krugman)

Economic forecasting is like trying to drive a car blindfolded and following directions given by a person who is looking out of the back window.

A student named Michelle was taking a class taught by Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago.  After a late night studying, she fell asleep in class.

This sent Friedman into a little tizzy, and he came over and pounded on the table, demanding an answer to a question he had just posed to the class.  Michelle, now awake, said, "I'm sorry, Professor.  I missed the question, but the answer is increase the money supply."

Achieving free trade is like getting to heaven.  Everyone wants to get there, but not too soon.

An economist returns to visit her old school.  She's interested in the current exam questions and asks her old professor to show her some.

To her surprise, they are exactly the same ones that she had answered 10 years ago!  When she asked the professor about this, the professor answered, "The questions are always the same.  Only the answers change!"

A physicist, a chemist, and an economist are stranded on an island with nothing to eat.  A can of soup washes ashore.

The physicist says, "Let's smash the can open with a rock."

The chemist says, "Let's build a fire and heat the can first."

The economist says, "Let's assume that we have a can opener."  (Paul Samuelson)

The First Law of Economics:  For every economist, there exists an equal and opposite economist.

The Second Law of Economics:  They're both wrong.

Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, a highly esteemed economist, and an old drunk were walking down the street together when they simultaneously spotted a $100 bill.  Who got it?

The old drunk, of course.  The other three are mythical creatures.

Q:  What do you get when you cross the Godfather with an economist?

A:  An offer you can't understand.

"If you put two economists in a room, you get two opinions, unless one of them is Lord Keynes, in which case you get three opinions."  (Winston Churchill)



Thanks for this great collection.