As the (former, and perhaps future) Specialized Co-Editor for Miscellany of Economic Inquiry (which offers additional innovations such as a no-revisions option), I am delighted to put out this request for submissions that expose the lighter side of the dismal science:

  • Humorous articles, such as Leijonhufvud’s “Life among the Econ”, (Economic Inquiry, 1973), Gregor W. Smith’s “Japan’s Phillips Curve looks like Japan” (Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, 2008), or my own “Principles of economics, translated”, which is available in text format (Annals of Improbable Research, 2003) or on YouTube. (See below for a semi-complete list of funny articles.)
  • News headlines, real or imagined, such as a 2004 article that was originally headlined “Iraqis polled: War did more harm than good but worth it.”
  • Original economics jokes, such as “You might be an economist if…” Please don’t send me “assume a can-opener” or other jokes that are online, e.g., on JokEc.
  • Cartoons, anecdotes, and other funny stuff. I’ll even consider amusing excerpts from rejection letters, such as the 2003 referee report by a reviewer who failed to notice that the 20th century was over.

See the list below for my stab at a compendium of economics humor, and note some of these articles (and many others) can be found in Clotfelter’s On the Third Hand: Wit and Humor in the Dismal Science. If you have additions to this list, please let me know!

Instructions for submissions

If you have a joke or cartoon or other short piece, email it (with a subject line of “Economics miscellany”) to me at If you have a multi-page “serious” submission, send it through the usual process, beginning with a careful read of the Submission Information. (Make sure to write on your paper that it is intended for the Miscellany section, and yes you will have to pay the submission fee.) If you are not sure whether your paper is “serious” or not, email it to me and ask me.

Funny economics articles

Please send me additions, and please note that some of these articles (and many others) can be found in Clotfelter’s On the Third Hand. Highly recommended items are in boldface.

The “assume a can opener” joke (from JokEc)

A physicist, a chemist and an economist are stranded on an island, with nothing to eat. A can of soup washes ashore. The physicist says, “Lets smash the can open with a rock.” The chemist says, “Lets build a fire and heat the can first.” The economist says, “Lets assume that we have a can-opener…”