Economics Jokes

The Top Ten Lies Told by Graduate Students

10. I would never date an undergraduate.
9. I'd be delighted to proofread your book/chapter/article.
8. My work has a lot of practical importance.
7. It doesn't bother me at all that my college roommate is making $80,000 a year on Wall Street.
6. Your latest article was so inspiring.
5. I turned down a lot of great job offers to come here.
4. I just have one more book to read and then I'll start writing.
3. The department is giving me so much support.
2. My job prospects look really good.
1. No really, I'll be out of here in only two more years.

You just might be a grad student if...

by David McKay at the University of Iowa can analyze the significance of appliances you cannot operate.
...your carrel is better decorated than your apartment. have ever, as a folklore project, attempted to track the progress of your own joke across the Internet. are startled to meet people who neither need nor want to read. have ever brought a scholarly article to a bar. rate coffee shops by the availability of outlets for your laptop.
...everything reminds you of something in your discipline. have ever discussed academic matters at a sporting event. have ever spent more than $50 on photocopying while researching a single paper.
...there is a microfilm reader in the library that you consider "yours." actually have a preference between microfilm and microfiche. can tell the time of day by looking at the traffic flow at the library. look forward to summers because you're more productive without the distraction of classes. regard ibuprofen as a vitamin. consider all papers to be works in progress.
...professors don't really care when you turn in work anymore. find the bibliographies of books more interesting than the actual text. have given up trying to keep your books organized and are now just trying to keep them all in the same general area. have accepted guilt as an inherent feature of relaxation.


1. Economists are armed and dangerous: "Watch out for our invisible hands."
2. Economists can supply it on demand.
3. You can talk about money without every having to make any.
4. You get to say "trickle down" with a straight face.
5. Mick Jagger and Arnold Schwarzenegger both studied economics and look how they turned out.
6. When you are in the unemployment line, at least you will know why you are there.
7. If you rearrange the letters in "ECONOMICS", you get "COMIC NOSE".
8. Although ethics teaches that virtue is its own reward, in economics we get taught that reward is its own virtue.
9. When you get drunk, you can tell everyone that you are just researching the law of diminishing marginal utility.
10. When you call 1-900-LUV-ECON and get Kandi Keynes, you will have something to talk about.


1. Press pretty flowers.

2. Press pretty insects.
3. Use it as paper weight on your already overcluttered desk.
4. Leave out in obvious places to impress uninformed undergraduates.
5. Mail to the White House as an intimidation tactic.
6. Give it a walk-on part in a boring European existentialist play.
7. Just throw the damn thing away.
8. Leave out for the rain and other forces of nature to reckon with.
9. Read it (ha ha ha), and weep.
10. Get a refund from bookstore so you can buy weekend's beer supply.

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

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

Economics is the only field in which two people can get a Nobel Prize for saying exactly the opposite thing. Humor is evolving, now we have a refinement:

"Economics is the only field in which two people can get a Nobel Prize for saying the opposite thing" is true, but is not strong enough. Better:

"Economics is the only field in which two people can share a Nobel Prize for saying opposing things." Specifically, Myrdahl and Hayek shared one.

Roberto Alazar

A mathematician, an accountant and an economist apply for the same job.

The interviewer calls in the mathematician and asks "What do two plus two equal?" The mathematician replies "Four." The interviewer asks "Four, exactly?" The mathematician looks at the interviewer incredulously and says "Yes, four, exactly."

Then the interviewer calls in the accountant and asks the same question "What do two plus two equal?" The accountant says "On average, four - give or take ten percent, but on average, four."

Then the interviewer calls in the economist and poses the same question "What do two plus two equal?" The economist gets up, locks the door, closes the shade, sits down next to the interviewer and says "What do you want it to equal?"

ECONOMISTS do it at bliss point
ECONOMISTS do it cyclically
ECONOMISTS do it in an Edgeworth Box
ECONOMISTS do it on demand
ECONOMISTS do it risk-free (in reference to the risk-free interest rate)
ECONOMISTS do it with a dual
ECONOMISTS do it with an atomistic competitor
ECONOMISTS do it with crystal balls
ECONOMISTS do it with interest

"Economists do it with models"

When drawing up the guest list for a dinner party, inviting more than 25% economists ruins the conversation.

Economists do it with Slutsky matrices.

Economists do it discretely AND continuously.

Economists do it on Leontief's table.
Heard at the Bocconi university in Milan.

"Econometricians do it with dummies"?

Economics is the painful elaboration of the obvious.

Bentley's second Law of Economics: The only thing more dangerous than an economist is an amateur economist!

A Chicago economist died in poverty and many local futures traders donated to a fund for his funeral. The president of (the Merc, the Board of Trade, etc.) was asked to donate a dollar. "Only a buck?" said the president, "only a dollar to bury an economist? Here's a check; go bury 1000 of them."

Economics has gotten so rigorous we've all got rigor mortis.
Presumably said by Kenneth Boulding

In Canada there is a small radical group that refuses to speak english and no one can understand them. They are called separatists. In this country (USA) we have the same kind of group. They are called economists.

Nation's Business

There is one joke opportunity in Robert Kuttner, The Poverty of Economics, The Atlantic Monthly, Feb 1985, p. 79, which says: "George Stigler Nobel laureate and a leader of Chicago School was asked why there were no Nobel Prizes awarded in the other social sciences, sociology, psychology, history, etc. "Don't worry", Stigler said, "they have already have a Nobel Prize in ...Literature"

An economist is a trained professional paid to guess wrong about the economy. An econometrician is a trained professional paid to use computers to guess wrong about the economy.

An economist, a philosopher, a biologist, and an architect were were arguing about what was God's real profession. The philosopher said, "Well, first and foremost, God is a philosopher because he created the principles by which man is to live." "Ridiculous!" said the biologist "Before that, God created man and woman and all living things so clearly he was a biologist." "Wrong," said the architect. "Before that, he created the heavens and the earth. Before the earth, there was only complete confusion and chaos!" "Well," said the economist, "where do you think the chaos came from?"

An economist was standing at the shore of a large lake, surf-casting. It was the middle of winter, and the lake was completely frozen over, but this didn't seem to bother the economist, who stood there patiently casting his lure out across the ice, slowly reeling it in again, then repeating the process.

A mathematical economist came sailing by on an ice boat, and pulled to the shore beside the surf-fishing economist to scoff. "You'll never catch any fish that way," said the mathematical economist. "Jump on my ice-boat and we'll go trawling."

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

A mathematician, a theoretical economist and an econometrician are asked to find a black cat (who doesn't really exist) in a closed room with the lights off:
- The mathematician gets crazy trying to find a black cat that doesn't exist inside the darkened room and ends up in a psychiatric hospital.
- The theoretical economist is unable to catch the black cat that doesn't exist inside the darkened room, but exits the room proudly proclaiming that he can construct a model to describe all his movements with extreme accuracy.
- The econometrician walks securely into the darkened room, spend one hour looking for the black cat that doesn't exits and shouts from inside the room that he has it catched by the neck."

Practice economy at any cost.

Heard at the workshop of evolutionary economists at IIASA:

Q: How has French revolution affected world economic growth?
A: Too early to say.

Q. What do economists and computers have in common ??
A. You need to punch information into both of them.

Why does Treasury only have 10 minutes for morning tea ??
A. If they had any longer, they would need to re-train all the economists.

Two economists were walking down the street when they noticed two women yelling across the street at each other from their apartment windows.

Of course they will never come to agreement, stated the first economist.

And why is that, inquired his companion,

Why, of course, because they are arguing from different premises.

If all the economists were laid end to end they would be an orgy, of mathematics.

Newlan's Truism: An "acceptable" level of unemployment means that the government economist to whom it is acceptable still has a job.

Q Why did the market economist cross the road?
A To reach the consensus forecast.

Two men are flying in a captive balloon. The wind is ugly and they come away from their course and they have no idea where they are. So they go down to 20 m above ground and ask a passing wanderer. "Could you tell us where we are?"

"You are in a balloon."

So the one pilot to the other:

"The answer is perfectly right and absolutely useless. The man must be an economist"

"Then you must be businessmen", answers the man.

"That's right! How did you know?"

"You have such a good view from where you are and yet you don't know where you are!"

Light bulb jokes are always in...

Q: How many Chicago School economists does it take to change a light bulb?

A: None. If the light bulb needed changing the market would have already done it.

Q:How many Keynesian economists does it takes to change a light bulb?

A:All. Because then you will generate employment, more consumption, dislocating the AD (agg. demand) to the right,...

Economists do it with models

Q: How many marxists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: None - the bulb contains within it the seeds of its own revolution.

Here's couple of more general jokes.

A civil engineer, a chemist and an economist are traveling in the countryside. Weary, they stop at a small country inn. "I only have two rooms, so one of you will have to sleep in the barn," the innkeeper says. The civil engineer volunteers to sleep in the barn, goes outside, and the others go to bed. In a short time they're awakened by a knock. It's the engineer, who says, "There's a cow in that barn. I'm a Hindu, and it would offend my beliefs to sleep next to a sacred animal." The chemist says that, OK, he'll sleep in the barn. The others go back to bed, but soon are awakened by another knock. It's the chemist who says, "There's a pig in that barn. I'm Jewish, and cannot sleep next to an unclean animal." So the economist is sent to the barn. It's getting late, the others are very tired and soon fall asleep. But they're awakened by an even louder knocking. They open the door and are surprised by what they see: It's the cow and the pig!

Three economists and three mathematicians were going for a trip by train. Before the journey, the mathematicians bought 3 tickets but economists only bought one. The mathematicians were glad their stupid colleagues were going to pay a fine. However, when the conductor was approaching their compartment, all three economists went to the nearest toilet. The conductor, noticing that somebody was in the toilet, knocked on the door. In reply he saw a hand with one ticket. He checked it and the economists saved 2/3 of the ticket price.
The next day, the mathematicians decided to use the same strategy- they bought only one ticket, but economists did not buy tickets at all! When the mathematicians saw the conductor, they hid in the toilet, and when they heard knocking they handed in the ticket. They did not get it back.
Why? The economists took it and went to the other toilet.

A party of economists was climbing in the Alps . After several hours they became hopelessly lost. One of them studied the map for some time, turning it up and down, sighting on distant landmarks, consulting his compass, and finally the sun.

Finally he said, ' OK see that big mountain over there?'
'Yes', answered the others eagerly.
'Well, according to the map, we're standing on top of it.'

Q:How many economists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Irrelevant - the light bulb's preferences are to be taken as given.

True story: The scene is a conference of professors of marketing. The keynote speaker is an eminent economist. The chairman, who sees himself as a bit of a wag, says,

"I would like to introduce my eminent colleague and friend. He's an economist, one of those people who turn random numbers into mathematical laws."
The economist, not to be outdone, replies,
"My friend, here, is a marketer. They reverse the process."

One day a man walked into the main library of a major research university. He stopped at the reference desk and asked the librarian if she had any current books about economics and the economy.

She answered that she did, and led the man to the reference shelves where the economics and economy books were.

To the surprise of both the librarian and the man all of the books were off the shelf being used.

``That's OK,'' the man said. ``I'll just go to another library. You see, I'm a very busy man, and I set this weekend aside for studying economics and the economy.''

The librarian said she understood and gave the man directions to the nearest research library. But her interest piqued, she asked: ``Why are you so urgent to study economics and the economy?''

The man replied: "I'm an economist. I've been teaching at this university for the past ten years. I'm attending a business meeting on Monday, and I figure the economy has changed in the past ten years."

Economists do it with cross partials...

Q. What's the difference between an economist and a befuddled old man with Alzheimer's?

A. The economist is the one with the calculator.