Having a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics (the most practical of all economists) I love these quips in the Wall Street Journal.

  • “Milton Friedman, the late Nobel laureate, routinely returned reporters’ calls collect.” (Seems reasonable to me.)
  • “… her economist father kept the thermostat so low that her mother threatened at one point to take the family to a motel. ‘My father gave in because it would have been more expensive,’ she says.” (He probably also carefully calculated the cost of a divorce before deciding to turn up the heat.)
  • Wharton School professor Justin Wolfers and a colleague gave a friend $150 to hire movers instead of helping him to move themselves. (Now, come on and admit it, you think this is brilliant!)
  • “Among his one-liners: ‘You might be an economist if you refuse to sell your children because they might be worth more later.'” (This is only a joke but it brings up the important point that children are a terrible investment monetarily.)
  • “Some dispute the notion that economists tend to be skinflints. ‘They aren’t cheap,’ but they are concerned with a loss of economic efficiency, says Betsey Stevenson, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. ‘That means that they often fail to do the nice little social gifts that seem wasteful to economists.’ (The calculations are exhausting.)
  • “Harvard University economist John Laibson pays to have a driver pick up his sister from the airport rather than driving himself.” (Well, I guess you would need to know his sister.)
  • “Bob doesn’t see why we can’t just hire people to trim the Christmas tree” (I assume the condensed seasonal workflow prevented the development of this valuable service.)

The article didn’t mention that economists can have a quirky sense of humor.