Our Daily Bleg: Econ Jokes Needed


From a reader named Kyle comes the following bleg. (Send your own requests here.) Go ahead, help him out. One question: is Kyle cheating?

I am a graduate student in a social justice and human rights program. I am extremely interested in the economics of education and am currently taking a graduate microeconomics class to further pursue that interest.

In our last micro class, my professor set forth the following proposition: each day, one student will tell a joke (this is meant to recapture the students’ full attention midway through the lecture). If the joke is “sufficiently funny,” that student will receive an A for the course. There are two rules: 1) the joke must be clean, and 2) the joke must not be offensive.

Although I think the loose and extremely subjective definition of “sufficiently funny” will prevent any of the students from procuring an A in this manner, I was wondering if you could use the site to help me get some econ-related jokes. Maybe Freakonomics could even hold its own contest — perhaps with the reward of Freakonomics schwag instead of an A.

By the way, my professor’s expertise is in game theory, so any jokes on game theory would also be extremely helpful.




Hmm...interesting. I make it only 2 out of 78 have actual economic insights

# 47

# 62

Tilemahos Efthimiadis

Well after this long list just send the link to this page to your Professor (or for a dramatic effect write it on the blackboard). You could also ask for a scholarship as you have proved that you can handle the concept of minimal effort, maximum output. Some may characterize you as "lazy", I say "effective manager".

Presh Talwalkar

The best game theory joke:

(from http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=game-theory-vs-ordinary-decision)

I heard this tale in India. A hat seller, on waking from a nap under a tree, found that a group of monkeys had taken all his hats to the top of the tree. In exasperation he took off his own hat and flung it to the ground. The monkeys, known for their imitative urge, hurled down the hats, which the hat seller promptly collected.

Half a century later his grandson, also a hat seller, set down his wares under the same tree for a nap. On waking, he was dismayed to discover that monkeys had taken all his hats to the treetop. Then he remembered his grandfather's story, so he threw his own hat to the ground. But, mysteriously, none of the monkeys threw any hats, and only one monkey came down. It took the hat on the ground firmly in hand, walked up to the hat seller, gave him a slap and said, "You think only you have a grandfather?"



Theorists do it with models.

Theoretical econometricians do it whenever it's identified.

Applied econometricians do it even when it's not identified.


One day, an old lady took her three dogs (Earthquake, Shark, and Joking) to the beach and they got lost. As she looked for them she screamed Shark! Everyone jumped out of the water. She screamed Earthquake, and everyone got into the water. She screamed Joking! And everyone beat her up! haha, okay that's all I had... haha. Something that i'd like to comment about is the incredible incentive that students have to create a great joke to entertain their class, if they don't the won't earn an A. To be honest, I don't think this is fair, because how can a student be graded on their joke skills, rather than for their true learning and effort in their class? The opportunity cost of this method is that students with bad joking skills wouldn't fail, and students wouldn't have to spend much time searching for jokes to entertain the class. I don't like this method at all.



A man explained inflation to his wife thus:

‘When we married, you measured 36-24-36. Now you’re 42-42-42. There’s more of you, but you are not worth as much.’


I tip your hat to you kind sir. This one will be finding it's way to some more ears.


I think Laura is the right one here. Why should it matter where the money came from? Either way the second economist bought a service and GDP is a measure of transactions.

Tom Bombadil

Here's one:

Two fellow-economists meet up, and one notices the other getting off a brand new bike. So he asks, "Where'd you get hold of that?". The other relates: "Oh, I was walking along the highway last evening when a gorgeous blonde babe on this very bike stopped next to me. She looked at me, then took all her clothes off, and said - Take Whatever You Want. So I took the bike." "Well done", said the other economist. "The clothes wouldn't have fit you anyway."


This won't get you an A, but it might help you smile.


An accountant, an economist and a lawyer apply for the same job. In the job interview they are asked the trivial question "What is 2+2?"

The accountant: "With 5% depreciation 3.8"

The economist: "What answer do you want to have?"

The lawyer: "4" "How did you know?" "I learned it by heart!"

Oliver Townshend

Attempted original game theory humour*

3 Travelling Salesmen** walk into a bar and begin to discuss their work and try to work out who is the most successful.

The first boasts that he has minimized the distance he travels from New York to San Francisco by taking the shortest route between each city that he visits, as he visits them.

The second boasts that he has minimized the distance travelled by planning his route prior to leaving New York based on analysis of his previous journey.

The third leans back in his chair, and says to them "Why gentlemen, I'm pleased you go this effort. While you where carefully planning and researching your trips, I flew directly to San Francisco and scored a huge sale with Apple. I'm now on holiday with my wife, and we are driving back to New York at a leisurely pace."

*with a bit of economics as the punchline

**apologies for the sexist language, I realise this should be Regional Sales Managers, but it doesn't have the same connotations.



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

A: None, the market will take care of it


I think this is a quote from Harry Truman, but I thought it might be appropriate, if not very helpful:

Truman: I need a one-armed economist on staff.

Aide: Why?

Truman: So he can't say, "on the other hand..."


#65 Did you really count the words in the letter? I sincerely hope you are estimating or at least did a word count by cut-and-pasting it into Word.


The First Law of Economics:

For every economist, there is an equal and opposite economist.

The corollary:

They're both wrong.


What's the definition of economist?

Someone who knows 100 ways to have sex but doesn't have a girlfriend.


What do you get when you cross a Mafia Don with an Economist?

An offer you cannot understand.

Oliver Townshend

95 - I hate to be picky, but the value added was only $100K assuming the young economist used the money acquired from the first lunch to pay for the second.


i dont get the stanford/cal joke or the porsche joke


This one is pretty gross, but funny nonetheless:

Two economists walk and find some cow**** in the middle of the road. The old one tells the young economist: 'If you eat it, I will give you $100K'. The young economist thinks about it for a while, then eats it. Walking further down the road, they see another pile of cow****. The young economist now tells the old one: 'If you eat it, I will give you $100K'. The old economist thinks about it, then eats it. As they keep walking, the young economist says:'You know, we both ate it, and have the same amount of money as before. None of us is better off.' The old economist replies: 'Yes, but our transactions increased GDP by $200K'.

I guess you can replace the cow**** with something else.

Neil (SM)

#26, #52, & #56: I think you all neglected to weigh the cost of googling "economics jokes" against the cost of creating and submitting the 185-word letter quoted in the post. (Holding everything else constant) I think perhaps he did not choose the laziest possible path.