Top 5 Geeky, Yet Funny, Economic Paper Titles
As many are aware, economists aren’t the funniest group in the crowd. Here are some sample jokes from the funniest economists out there–Yoram Bauman.
Here is a sample economist joke:
When Yorum told his dad that he wanted to use his Ph.D. in economics as the basis for a comedy career, his dad was unsure.
He didn’t think there would be enough demand.
har har har…
And in response to his Dad’s skepticism:
I told him not to worry. I’m a supply-side economist. I just stand up and let the jokes trickle down.
N’yuk, N’yuk, N’yuk…
I know, pretty bad…
But just because economists can’t tell jokes, doesn’t mean they can’t come up with some funny titles for their esoteric academic articles submitted to professional journals.
Our Top 5 Funny Titles of All-Time:
Journals favor rejections of the null hypothesis. This selection upon results may distort the behavior of researchers. Using 50,000 tests published between 2005 and 2011 in the AER, JPE and QJE, we identify a residual in the distribution of tests that cannot be explained by selection. The distribution of p-values exhibits a camel shape with abundant p-values above :25, a valley between :25 and :10 and a bump slightly under :05. Missing tests are those which would have been accepted but close to being rejected (p-values between :25 and :10). We show that this pattern corresponds to a shift in the distribution of p-values: between 10% and 20% of marginally rejected tests are misallocated. Our interpretation is that researchers might be tempted to inflate the value of their tests by choosing the specification that provides the highest statistics. Note that Inflation is larger in articles where stars are used in order to highlight statistical significance and lower in articles with theoretical models.
In an episode of the sitcom Seinfeld (season 7, episode 9, original air date December 7, 1995), Elaine Benes uses a contraceptive sponge that gets taken off the market. She scours pharmacies in the neighborhood to stock a large supply, but it is finite. So she must “reevaluate her whole screening process.” Every time she dates a new man, which happens very frequently, she has to consider a new issue: Is he “spongeworthy”? The purpose of this article is to quantify this concept of spongeworthiness.
Although human beings have endured the recurring ravages of vampires for centuries, scarcely any attempts have been made to analyze the macroeconomic implications of this problem and to devise socially optimal policy responses. Despite the increasing incidence of vampire epidemics in recent years (in Transylvania, Hollywood, and elsewhere), vampirism remains a thoroughly neglected topic in the theory of macroeconomic policy. The “vampires” considered in this paper are not the blood-sucking bats (e.g., Desmodus rotundus or Diphylla ecaudata) to be found in the forests of tropical America, but the blood-sucking ghosts of dead Homo sapiens. The bats are comparatively innocuous; aside from taking their occasional blood sample from missionaries asleep in the jungle, they have had no measurable influence on human welfare. The blood-sucking ghosts, on the other hand, have periodically provided grave threats to human populations; their most conspicuous macroeconomic impact arises from their detrimental effect on the labor force.
The size premium has been challenged along many fronts: it has a weak historical record, varies significantly over time, in particular weakening after its discovery in the early 1980s, is concentrated among microcap stocks, predominantly resides in January, is not present for measures of size that do not rely on market prices, is weak internationally, and is subsumed by proxies for illiquidity. We find, however, that these challenges are dismantled when controlling for the quality, or the inverse “junk”, of a firm. A significant size premium emerges, which is stable through time, robust to the specification, more consistent across seasons and markets, not concentrated in microcaps, robust to non-price based measures of size, and not captured by an illiquidity premium. Controlling for quality/junk also explains interactions between size and other return characteristics such as value and momentum.
And the Number 1 Hit:
This article investigates the internal governance institutions of violent criminal enterprise by examining the law, economics, and organization of pirates. To effectively organize their banditry, pirates required mechanisms to prevent internal predation, minimize crew conflict, and maximize piratical profit. Pirates devised two institutions for this purpose. First, I analyze the system of piratical checks and balances crews used to constrain captain predation. Second, I examine how pirates used democratic constitutions to minimize conflict and create piratical law and order. Pirate governance created sufficient order and cooperation to make pirates one of the most sophisticated and successful criminal organizations in history.
Who says academics can’t have a sense of humor? So what if their jokes stink? They still know how to have a little fun.
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Definitions of common statistics used in our analysis are available here (towards the bottom)