I guess when one writes about frictional, cyclical, and structural singledom, one can’t be entirely surprised that one gets emails requesting links to content such as “21 Reasons Why You Should Never Date an Economist.” I tend to ignore the vast majority of such requests, but I have to admit that items 1, 3, and 21 kind of won me over, and item 20 is both kind of brilliant from a wordplay perspective and decent monetary policy advice. (In related news, I am pretty sure that I am guilty of the tragedy of the commons remedy in item 19. What, like it’s weird to have separate rolls of toilet paper?) So without further ado, from the Institute for Advanced Development Studies (see below for a very strategic acronym):
1. Economists may be dangerous. Watch out for the invisible hands!
2. It won’t matter what you supply, they will always demand more.
3. They consider selfish behavior the most natural thing in the world.
4. They prefer doing it with models and dummies.
5. Economists habitually deflate everything.
6. They like their love lives like they like their markets: free and open.
7. On average they are pretty mean.
8. And definitely too trendy.
9. They will never be happy with you as you are, they will always want you to grow.
10. They require a lot of stimulus in order to expand.
11. They will spend their lives trying to predict your behavior.
12. They consider you perfectly substitutable.
13. They’ll only like you if you have plenty of elasticity.
14. They will always think that there is an acceptable level of unemployment.
15. As soon as you are happy in the relationship they’ll burst your bubble.
16. They’ll only be into you if you have plenty of boom and bust.
17. They’ll never say “I Love you” only that “You optimise my utility”.
18. They will rate your kids’ advancement into a Human Development Index.
19. They will establish very clear household property rights to avoid the tragedy of the commons.
20. If you ever get depressed, they’ll lower their interest rate to zero.
21. They might collect a stratified household survey of family and friends, run regression and cluster analyses and check for heteroskedasticity before deciding to commit to you. (On the plus side you might get to see what your love looks like as a formula).
I also like number 7 because I see what they were going for there, even though they didn’t completely reach their target. I mean, I dare anyone who’s ever had to demean data to tell me that the concept didn’t make them giggle at least once. (I do, in fact, have a coauthor who will jokingly tell our datasets that they are pieces of crap on a regular basis and then explain that he’s just demeaning his data. You’d think it would have gotten old by now, but no.)