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

“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.

A man walking along a road in the countryside comes across a shepherd and a huge flock of sheep. 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 big flock so he takes the bet. “973,” says the man. The shepherd is astonished, because that is exactly right. Says “OK, I’m a man of my word, take an animal.” 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 exact occupation.” Man says sure. “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 will tell you.”

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?”


  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.

Three econometricians went out hunting, and came across a large deer. The first econometrician fired, but missed, by a metre to the left. The second econometrician fired, but also missed, by a metre 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 exist and shouts from inside the room that he has it catched by the neck.”

True story. I’m riding up the elevator at the Boston ASSA meetings a few years back. In the car with me is a woman who works in the hotel. I ask her if economists are really as dull a bunch as they’re made out to be. She responds that she used to be stationed at the NYC branch of the chain when the meetings were held there and that even the hookers had taken the week off.

Heard at the workshop of evolutionary economists at IIASA:

Q: How has French revolution affected world economic growth?

A: Too early to say.

True story: I was standing with Ken Arrow by a bank of elevators on the ground floor of William James Hall at Harvard. Three elevators passed us on our way to the basement. I foolishly said “I wonder why everybody in the basement wants to go upstairs.” He responded, almost instantly: “You’re confusing supply with demand.”

Did you hear of the economist who dove into his swimming pool and broke his neck?

He forgot to seasonally adjust his pool.

An economic forecaster was known to have an horseshoe prominently displayed above the doorframe of his office. Asked what it was for, he replied that it was a good luck charm that helped his forecasts. But do you believe in that superstition? he was asked, and he said, “Of course not!” But then why do you keep it? “Well,” he said, “it works whether you believe in it or not.”

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 mainstream economists does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Two. One to assume the existence of ladder and one to change the bulb.

Q: How many neo-classical economists does it take to change a light bulb?

A: It depends on the wage rate.

  1. What’s the difference between an economist and a befuddled old man with Alzheimer’s?
  2. The economist is the one with the calculator.