Economists Do It With Models

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Just For Fun: Can Someone Explain This Cartoon To Me?

March 25th, 2011 · 14 Comments
Just For Fun

Hmmm…I’m not so much saying that it doesn’t happen, but why is this specific to economists? From Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:

I can’t help but think of The Stand-Up Economist‘s line about “you know you’re an economist if you refuse to sell your children because you think they’ll be worth more later”…or perhaps this. Thoughts?

Tags: Just For Fun

14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Chris // Mar 25, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I dunno, to me it sounds like a play on the market research and “willingness-to-pay” estimations that Economists perform to draw up hypothetical demand curves for products before marketing them. He has a pen and paper so he is obviously conducting some kind of survey related to it.

  • 2 anonymous econ student // Mar 25, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    It sounds like a reference to indifference curves/budget lines w/regard to the utility of the comment.

  • 3 Jay B // Mar 25, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    This is obviously an input/output/put out survey.

  • 4 Taylor // Mar 25, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    It sounds like a combination of a signaling game and the stable marriage problem (i.e. the gale-shapley algorithm). Men/women have a noisy signal about their own attractiveness that comes from how others treat/compliment them. But they also want to find the most attractive partner she can be matched to. The signaling game gets interesting because no one would have an incentive to truthfully signal — if you’re really attractive and I tell you that, then your posterior belief about your attractiveness will cause me to lose the opportunity to have you as a partner. Actually I think there’s a compelling paper here…

  • 5 John Carey // Mar 25, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    He seems to be operating at the margin.

  • 6 rjs // Mar 25, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Joint utility maximization. Ask Becker…

  • 7 Russ Nelson // Mar 25, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    It has the word “interest” in it, thus it is specific to economists. Or something equally stupid.

    No, I don’t get it either.

  • 8 Ryan Lee // Mar 25, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    I think it is a reference to The Bellamy Brothers song “If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body (Would You Hold It Against Me)”

  • 9 CJ // Mar 25, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    I would assume that the problem is this: He wants to compliment her, but does not want to create a situation where his compliment raises her opinion of herself so much that she would no longer stoop to his level. It’d indicate a view of a laffer curve style graph of compliments and her reactions, for which he’s attempting to find the maxima (where her reaction will be best.)

    Or something like that.

  • 10 Mj // Mar 25, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Clearly. Not the work of an

  • 11 jean Valjean // Mar 26, 2011 at 9:32 am

    CJ sums it succinctly.

  • 12 Jesse // Mar 26, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Ryan Lee is on the right track. There is a (well used) pick-up line that goes: “If I told you that you had a nice body, would you hold it (i.e. your nice body) against me?” Pretty funny, huh?
    Of course, the economist (who could have been any scientist) puts a nerdy spin on it.

  • 13 Punditus Maximus // Mar 26, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    It’s a signaling game joke, with a twist.

  • 14 Russell Nelson // Mar 27, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Jesse: yeah, but he had to change the second part of it too much. Just doesn’t make the cut.

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