Economists Do It With Models

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Random Link: If Scientists Were Like Rockstars…

March 13th, 2011 · 7 Comments
Just For Fun · Random Links

I got the following request from reader Tristan T. as a comment on my last post:

We need more nerdy talk. Or at least some bad econ jokes to lighten the mood.

Let me be clear- it’s not like I disagree with this assessment in the least, but sometimes I have stuff to do…like a job, and other writing, and spending all night in a recording studio (yep, that actually happened). I’m working on my time-management skills, but in the meantime I will give you a window into what my ideal world would look like. From The Onion, circa 2001:

CAMBRIDGE, MA—Paleontologist and author Stephen Jay Gould spoke out against the increasingly aggressive tactics of the paparazzi Tuesday, railing against “the reckless throngs of photographers that relentlessly hound America’s top scientists.”

According to Gould, photographers stand poised around the clock at the entrance of virtually any facility where research is being conducted, including such science hotspots as the Mayo Clinic, labs at MIT and Princeton, and the Center For Astrophysical Research in Antarctica. The situation has gotten so bad, Gould said, that scientists are often forced to slip in through alternate entrances, and increased security is required at any conference they attend.

Members of the paparazzi say they are merely responding to public demand, providing a service to the millions of Americans who closely follow the careers of the world’s top physicists, mathematicians, and botanists.

“In this country, people want to know about scientific discoveries the minute they happen,” said New Haven-based freelance photographer Lance Evans. “It’s only natural that the public would be interested in the personal lives of the men and women behind these discoveries.”

You can see the full article at the link above. HT to Marginal Revolution for reminding me of this.

Now, I get that people like to follow what I will generously refer to as, um, large personalities. I’m also reasonably confident that there are scientists out there who are as bats**t crazy as Charlie Sheen, so perhaps the entertainment industry could do well by giving them a reality show or something. On the other hand, if my experience is at all representative, said reality show would likely go something like this:

Roommate: What’s wrong, Pookie?
Me: I hate daylight Savings Time and want that hour back.
RM: I promise you’ll get it back sometime in October.
Me: The endowment effect tells me that I dislike losses roughly twice as much as I like gains. Therefore, repeatedly taking an hour away from me and then giving it back 7 months later makes me progressively less happy each year…which, now that I think about it, explains a lot.
RM: I think you’re just cranky that I told you that you couldn’t have potato chips for breakfast.
Me: *watching The West Wing* Maybe I’m cranky because no self-respecting Nobel Prize winner in economics would ever suggest nationalizing the trucking industry because the management and workers can’t get along.

The world can consider itself lucky that my apartment is too small to accommodate a film crew.

Update: I am learning that there is a greater interest in Daylight Savings Time among economically-inclined people than I would have originally guessed. For those who are curious, here is a paper that examines the economic impact of DST (spoiler alert: DST is found to increase rather than decrease energy consumption), and it also gives a good history of how DST came to be. Also, as I was writing this, the dialogue with my roommate continued as follows:

RM: *looks at computer screen* Are you trying to beat Daylight Savings Time?
Me: Sort of, actually. At the very least, I now know that I have the option to avoid DST by moving to Arizona or Indiana, which is potentially helpful.
RM: *still looking at computer screen* If scientists were like rockstars, they would have leather jackets.
Me: *points to coat rack*

Tags: Just For Fun · Random Links

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dave // Mar 13, 2011 at 8:03 pm


  • 2 Steve // Mar 13, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    well we do have the big bang theory. maybe a comedy show about economists would work well. I know I would watch it.

  • 3 neil williams // Mar 14, 2011 at 5:13 am

    Hello Jodi,

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    Please reach me at my mail ids: neil[at]credit-terms[dot]com or at neil.williams2009[at]gmail[dot]com

    I will look forward to your positive reply shortly.

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    Neil Williams

  • 4 Punditus Maximus // Mar 14, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    You’re right about the West Wing thing. No economist who is mainstream enough to win a Nobel Prize would ever consider actually resolving a major labor dispute. Any economist worth their salt would be far too invested in union-busting and the destruction of the American middle class to view a major labor dispute as anything other than an opportunity to break the union.

  • 5 Justin Ross // Mar 14, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Indiana adopted DST just a few years ago, but you are welcome to visit anyway 🙂

  • 6 econgirl // Mar 14, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Hmmm…I thought for some reason there were still some parts of Indiana that were holding out, but now I realize that I was mistaken:

    That only leaves Arizona (and Hawaii, but it’s so far away), and as I currently cannot locate my birth certificate, that doesn’t really seem like a good plan overall.

  • 7 Tristan T. // Mar 17, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Quite busy and quite understandable. I’ve had some down time because of finishing my graduate program (MBA! Woot!) and spring break because of working for the school district. Not that I take much joy in the latter considering the financial status of the state.

    Entrepreneurship or PhD? I suddenly feel my schedule filling up in the upcoming months. (^_^)

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