Guido Menzio, an award winning economist who teaches at the University of Pennsylvania was temporarily removed from an Air Wisconsin flight after the lady sitting next to him expressed apprehension. It appears that she was uneasy because:
- He did not engage in small talk when she asked if Syracuse “was home.”
- He was concentrating on writing an “odd language” that could have been a secret code or Arabic.
The professor was on the Philadelphia to Syracuse leg of his flight to Ontario where he was presenting an economics lecture. Preparing for his talk, the odd language he was working on was a math equation. Perhaps his notations resembled the following calculations that I copied from one of his co-authored papers:
Our Bottom Line: Economic Humor
Seizing the opportunity for some economic humor, The Economists’ Buttonwood columnist listed “Ten ways to tell you might be sitting next to an economist.” Below, before quoting several from Buttonwood, I’ve included four of my own.
From my top ten:
- She says the “cost” of her security line was 75 minutes.
- Refusing a slice of pie, she complained that it was not in the top 1%.
- Asked about her low fare, she replied, “It’s supply and demand.”
- Pondering a request to trade seats, she looked for the “comparative advantage.”
- Observing that Greek salad and German schnitzel were on the same plate, she wondered if the combination was compatible.
- He keeps telling you that “there is no such thing” as a ‘complimentary refreshment service.’
- He avoids prolonged conversation with you because he has a “rational expectation” that you’re an idiot since you chose the middle seat.
- He plonks his elbow on the arm rest because space has a “higher marginal utility” for him than for you.
- When he elbows you in the ribs, he says he is simply trying to “nudge” you into better behaviour.
- He adds an extra point to a “top 10 list” because he believes in “quantitative reasoning.”