Jokes about econometrics/econometrians


A mathematician, an accountant and an economist apply for the same job.

The interviewer calls in the mathematician and asks "What do two plus two equal?" The mathematician replies "Four." The interviewer asks "Four, exactly?" The mathematician looks at the interviewer incredulously and says "Yes, four, exactly."

Then the interviewer calls in the accountant and asks the same question "What do two plus two equal?" The accountant says "On average, four - give or take ten percent, but on average, four."

Then the interviewer calls in the economist and poses the same question "What do two plus two equal?" The economist gets up, locks the door, closes the shade, sits down next to the interviewer and says "What do you want it to equal?" 


Three econometricians went out hunting, and came across a large deer. The first econometrician fired, but missed, by a meter to the left. The second econometrician fired, but also missed, by a meter to the right. The third econometrician didn't fire, but shouted in triumph, "We got it! We got it!" 



A mathematician, a theoretical economist and an econometrician are asked to find a black cat (who doesn't really exist) in a closed room with the lights off:
- The mathematician gets crazy trying to find a black cat that doesn't exist inside the darkened room and ends up in a psychiatric hospital.
- The theoretical economist is unable to catch the black cat that doesn't exist inside the darkened room, but exits the room proudly proclaiming that he can construct a model to describe all his movements with extreme accuracy.
- The econometrician walks securely into the darkened room, spend one hour looking for the black cat that doesn't exits and shouts from inside the room that he has it catched by the neck." 

Q: How many economists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Seven, plus/minus ten.


I asked an economist for her phone number....and she gave me an estimate. 

"Economic statistics are like a bikini, what they reveal is important, what they conceal is vital"


These deep thoughts of colleague economists were originally collected by Hiroyuki Kawakatsu

How to do research

Keep the ass to the chair.
-James Buchanan

Everything has been thought before, but the problem is to think of it again.

Concepts without perceptions are empty; perceptions without concepts are blind.

Mathematics has no symbols for confused ideas.
-George Stigler

All models are wrong but some are useful.
-George Box

Far better an approximate answer to the right question, which is often vague, than an exact answer to the wrong question, which can always be made precise.
-J. Tukey

The paradox is now fully established that the utmost abstractions are the true weapons with which to control our thought of concrete fact.
-A. Whitehead

In the long-run, there's just another short-run.
-Abba Lerner

Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.

Someone once said about partisan analysts that they use economic data the way a drunkard uses a lamppost: for support rather than illumination. Or as Disraeli put it, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics.
-Paul Krugman

Theories are testable where they are least needed, and are not testable where they are most needed.
-Charles Manski

If you torture the data long enough, Nature will confess.
-Ronald Coase

There are two things you are better off not watching in the making: sausages and econometric estimates.
-Edward Leamer

Doing econometrics is like trying to learn the laws of electricity by playing the radio.
-Guy Orcutt

Any observed statistical regularity will tend to collapse once pressure is placed upon it for control purposes.
-Charles Goodhart

Time series regression studies give no sign of converging toward the truth.
-Phillip Cagan

Any time series regression containing more than four independent variables results in garbage
-Zvi Griliches

Forecasting is like trying to drive a car blindfolded and following directions given by a person who is looking out of the back window

Given the choice between Bob Solow and an econometric model to make forecasts, I'd choose Bob Solow; but I'd rather have Bob Solow with an econometric model, than Bob Solow without one
-Paul Samuelson

Keep in mind the three most important aspects of real data analysis: compromise, compromise, and compromise.
-Edward Leamer

The four golden rules of econometrics:
1.Think brilliantly,
2.Be infinitely creative,
3.Be outstandingly lucky,
4.Otherwise, stick to being a theorist
-David Hendry

A good empirical study requires three components:
1.A concise and sensible theoretical framework that is related to the questions to be asked,
2.Reasonably good data, and
3.An experiment or an event or a set of circumstances that give the data a chance to answer the questions asked. In short, the model needs to be identifiable from the data at hand.
-Zvi Griliches


Two students of economics at lunch:
Student 1" 'Do you know what are the two most important degrees in economics?"
Student 2:"The MSc and the PhD?" Student 1:"No, the zeroth and the first!"


+ A student was sitting in an econometric class taught by Prof White. The lecture was too difficult that few students understood it.

 "What is the lecture all about?" A student asked his friend who was sitting right next to him.
"I don't quite understand it either. All I get is, it's just some noise...specifically, white noise. He said we can expect it to be nothing on average." 

INTEREST GROUP ECONOMIST VIRUS - Divides your hard disk into hundreds of little units, each of which does practically nothing, but all of which claim to be the most important part of the computer.
ECONOMETRICIAN VIRUS - Sixty percent of the PCs infected will lose 38 percent of their data 14 percent of the time (plus or minus a 3.5 percent margin of
POLITICAL THINK TANK ECONOMIST VIRUS - Doesn't do anything, but you can't get rid of it until next election.
GOVERNMENT ECONOMIST VIRUS - nothing works on your system, but all your diagnostic software says everything is just fine.
MARXIAN ECONOMIST VIRUS - Helps your computer shut down whenever it wants to.
SOVIET ECONOMIST VIRUS - Crashes your computer, but denies it ever happened.
MAINSTREAM ECONOMIST VIRUS - It claims it feels threatened by the other files on your PC and erases then in "self-defense."
CENTRAL BANK ECONOMIST VIRUS - Makes sure that it's bigger than any other file.
MULTINATIONAL CORPORATION ECONOMIST VIRUS - Deletes all monetary files, but keeps smiling and sending messages about how the economy is going to get better.
SUPPLY SIDE ECONOMIST VIRUS - Puts your computer to sleep for four years. When your computer wakes up, you're trillion more dollars in debt.
NEW ECONOMY VIRUS - Also known as the "Tricky Dick Virus." You can wipe it out, but it always makes a comeback.
ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMIST VIRUS - Before allowing you to delete any file, it first asks you if you've considered the alternatives.

An econometrician E.M. left his office after a long day of doing estimations. When arriving at the parking lots, he could not find his car because he could not remember the exact place where he left it. After pondering a while, he stopped at an empty lot and started cursing, "they stole my car, those bloody bandits". He called in the police who started taking notes after arrival. A friend from the history department passed along. After listening to what had happened he said, "hey, your car is 25 meters over there, didn't you realize?" The econometrician said, "Can't be, this is the mean value of the distribution of my past choices of lots".

Value of human capital

Engineers and scientists will never make as much money as business executives. Now a rigorous mathematical proof that explains why this is true:

Postulate 1: Knowledge is Power.
Postulate 2: Time is Money.

As every engineer knows,

---------- = Power

Since Knowledge = Power, and Time =Money, we have

--------- = Knowledge

Solving for Money, we get:

----------- = Money

Thus, as Knowledge approaches zero, Money approaches infinity regardless of the Work done.
Conclusion: The Less you Know, the more money you Make.


An economist was asked about the meaning of life. He replied:
It depends on the parameter values. 


We have 2 classes of forecasters: Those who don't know . . . and those who don't know they don't know.

- John Kenneth Galbraith

An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn't happen today.

- Laurence J. Peter 

A study of economics usually reveals that the best time to buy anything is last year.

- Marty Allen 


What's the difference between mathematics and economics?

Mathematics is incomprehensible; economics just doesn't make any sense. 


Q:  Why is there a Nobel Prize for economics and none for other social sciences?

A:  They already have one in literature.