Economics students, what can you do to protect yourselves against jokes such as the classic, “You could lay all the economists in the U.S. end to end and they still wouldn’t reach a conclusion?” or, “How many economists does it take to fail to change a light bulb?–Just three.  One to detect a faint glow in the bulb and forecast a stronger glow in the next quarter; one to advise the President that the bulb is too hot to touch at the present time and will remain so in the forseeable future; and one to write a grant proposal for a study of the effect of darkness on productivity.”

How can you answer such scurrilous slanders?  By arming yourselves with examples of economic theory’s successes, from the well-designed and profitable government auctions of the air waves to the lesser-known empirical study by Mark Walker and John Wooders showing that, in the serve and return game, pro tennis players play mixed strategy equilibria.  Dozens of examples available in Storrs (in your classes)–don’t leave home without them.

Best of Luck!

Vicki Knoblauch
Professor of Economics

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