Economists Do It With Models

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Baby’s First Humor Talk…

January 13th, 2010 · 23 Comments
Just For Fun · Videos

Okay, so it only took 10 days to figure out how to get my AEA talk on the Internet. For those of you who aren’t already aware, I was in Atlanta last week to give a humor talk at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association. Some random facts and observations about my trip, which went from Cambridge to Atlanta to Alabama to Cleveland(ish) to Buffalo and back to Cambridge:

  • I decided to drive from Cambridge to Atlanta starting at 11pm on a Friday night. It took 17 hours and involved a quick nap in a Target parking lot in Charlottesville, VA.
  • There are a lot more vanity license plates in the South than there are in New England.
  • I took the MARTA from my friend’s house to the hotel one day, and I was the only white person in my train car. I did not feel as out of place during this ride as I did among other economists at the convention.
  • A liability release is required to go on a tour of the Talladega speedway. (That’s how you know the tour is AWESOME. =P)
  • Alabama football is insane. (Roll tide, roll.) People in Alabama are really nice.
  • Starbucks do in fact exist in West Virginia, but so do anti-evolution billboards. (No really- picture the graphic of the progression from monkey to human with the circle and the slash.)
  • Kimmelweck rolls do not travel well, but it might be worth moving to western New York just so I can go to Wegman’s on a regular basis.

In summary: my trip was fun, and my talk was fun. The latter was in large part due to the fact that we drew quite a crowd:

(Update: I put this photo up on my Facebook page here so that you can tag yourselves if you are feeling so inclined.)

Anyway, back to the video. It’s in three parts so it’s YouTube friendly (it’s a little under 20 minutes total but I couldn’t get a good break point near the 10 minute mark), and because it’s my first time doing this it’s a little like watching Bambi try to walk for the first time. If you keep up with the site you will have seen some of this before, but it was appropriate for the audience since most of them didn’t know anything about me or what I do. (Also, some of the jokes are more econ-specific than is appropriate for a random audience.) Hope you enjoy!

(Update: You can see the full video in one piece here if you prefer. As with the YouTube version, the sound is a little out of sync, but unfortunately I can’t seem to figure out how to fix that. Hopefully I can do better next year!)

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Tags: Just For Fun · Videos

23 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Don Gooding // Jan 13, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    “There are a lot more vanity license plates in the South than there are in New England. ”

    I’m not sure how Maine (where I live) compares to Mass. or the South, but we have an awful lot of vanity plates here.

    And since this is a question for numbers geeks like us, a few clicks away I found this:

    The column of Vanity Plate Penetration Rate (hmmm… grist for this site) shows Virginia #1 and New Hampshire #2. Maine is an asterisked #6, Vermont #10, Rhode Island #21 and Massachusetts way back at #46. Sounds like a regression versus the cost of vanity plates is in order, as well as a mea culpa for conflating Massachusetts with New England.

  • 2 dWj // Jan 13, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Charlottesville? I can think of broadly two paths I might take from Cambridge to Atlanta — they diverge in New Jersey and recombine at Charlotte, NC — and Charlottesville is kind of in between them.

    A friend (from a high-income African American family near Atlanta) recited “MARTA” as standing for “Moving Africans Rapidly Through Atlanta”. I’ve never used it myself, though I was once the only white on a crowded CTA train (when I lived on the south side of Chicago) when something of a racial pride rally broke out.

  • 3 econgirl // Jan 13, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    @ Don: Um, well done. I am now curious as to whether there is selection on driving patterns among vanity plate holders in New England, since I feel like I see plenty of out of state plates around here (MA is tiny, after all) and yet I would not have guessed any of that. I am also perturbed that even in my small #46 state the plate “WIDGET” is taken.

    @dWj: I think my GPS played a mean joke on me. Also, the MARTA gets a thumbs up from me in terms of cost, convenience, etc. I would def take it to work if I lived in Atlanta, especially since you can park for free at some of the stations.

  • 4 Dean R Anderson // Jan 13, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    I really enjoyed the presentation. Thank you for putting up up on the website.

    Sorry I made you go through all the effort of looking up Wave Economics, I was really just going for the beach pun. But then, no day where you learn something new is a bad day. 😉

    And for the record I “used” to be a macroeconomist, now I’m over on the Dark Side and apply the analytics to marketing. Funny how they are very similar. com

    I’m thinking the Consumer Packaged Goods companies (think General Mills up here in the Great White North) would love someone like you. You could help them figure out why people are or are not buying there latest version of yogurt.

    Keep up the fun!

  • 5 Peter // Jan 13, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Yeah, this pretty much made my day. Thank you! 🙂

  • 6 ELTrain // Jan 13, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    I grew up in NH, and I absolutely would have guessed #1 on vanity plates (I was guilty at one point too). Meanwhile, “WIDGET” might be the only vanity plate in MA that doesn’t have to do with the Red Sox…

    Wegman’s was my favorite part of college (central NY). FYI, there’s a fan site for it on Facebook…

    P.S. This site has taught me more about economics than any book I’ve read (worth noting I’ve never taken a business/econ class in my life, but still). Keep up the great work!

  • 7 Alex Rodriguez // Jan 14, 2010 at 12:47 am

    good job at the conference jodi, i hope this helps you on your way to becoming a publish author. 😀

  • 8 Matt // Jan 14, 2010 at 8:45 am

    We are quite proud of our massive collection of three Starbucks locations at random turnpike stops in WV, thank you very much. Not so much for the bilboards though. haha

  • 9 Stephen // Jan 18, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Jodi, excellent job at the conference. I love you comment about Wegman’s. I used to live in upstate New York and frequent the Wegman’s closest to my house about 3 times a week. I have since moved to the south (Kentucky) and there is a huge lack superior food purveyors such as Wegman’s. By the way I have shared this blog with many of my friends back home and they all got a kick out of it!

    P.S. Yes I can confirm that there are more vanity plates in Kentucky then in New york.

  • 10 Why isn’t sociology funny? « A (Budding) Sociologist’s Commonplace Book // Jan 19, 2010 at 10:20 am

    […] to microeconomics. Jodi Beggs runs the blog Economists Do It With Models, and was recently featured at the AEA’s humor session. Oh yeah, they had a humor session at their annual meetings! […]

  • 11 John B. Chilton // Feb 4, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Saw you on the News Hour tonight. Woo hoo!

  • 12 econgirl // Feb 4, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Hehe. One of my friends emailed me to say that he saw it, and he also said that he hopes that I can still go outside without getting mobbed. 🙂

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