The Armchair Economists' Mailing List

For most of the last ten years, I have had the splendid privilege of eating lunch every day with an extraordinary group of economic detectives who never fail to inspire me with their incisiveness, their whimsy, and their capacity for wonder. Almost daily, someone arrives at lunch with a new mystery to solve, a dozen brilliant and original solutions are proposed, and a dozen devastating objections are raised and occasionally overcome. We do it for sheer joy.
Steven Landsburg, The Armchair Economist

I never had the pleasure to attend a Rochester lunch, but it sounds like my idea of a great time. In fact, it sounds so good that I'm creating the closest substitute I can think of: a virtual lunch table in cyberspace named is the mailing list for "armchair economists"; that is, for people who like to ponder economic puzzles and questions, and talk about their speculations with others. You don't need to be an economist to participate on the list, although I imagine that most list members will be economists. All you need is a good grounding in economic theory, curiosity, and an appreciation for friendly intellectual give-and-take. Professors, graduate students, and avocational enthusiasts are all welcome.

What We'll Talk About

As a general rule, the following would be appropriate for discussion on

  • Economic puzzles and anomalies, from "Why does popcorn cost more at movies?" to "Why didn't India develop more under Imperial British rule?"
  • Interesting current or past research in economics
  • Discussion and analysis of (alleged) economic fallacies
  • Ideas for current or future research in economics
  • Applications of economic principles to unusual or non-economic situations
  • Novel economic explanations of historical events
  • Anything Landsburg has written about :-)

    The following would not generally be appropriate for discussion:

  • Postings with no economic content
  • Protracted discussions of history of thought, methodology, or philosophy of science
  • Flames and/or spam (these seem to be complements - why is that?)


To examines the archives of the Armchair list, click here.

How to Sign Up and Off

To sign up, go to and click on "Subscriber's Corner.

You should soon start to receive email from the armchair list. To send email yourself, just mail (If that does not work, email For questions of a bureaucratic nature, however, do not send them to the main list. Send them to me, the list-owner, at

To unsubscribe, go back to and once again click on Subscriber's Corner.

About the List-Owner

The list-owner of is Prof. Bryan Caplan ( of the George Mason University economics department. Steven Landsburg has given me some warm encouragement to try this idea, but otherwise has nothing to do with it. (It's the armchair economists' list, not the Armchair Economist's list! But if you'd like to read a few of Landsburg's columns in Slate, click here.) Just to tell you a little about myself: I defended my dissertation in May, and joined the faculty of GMU in August. You can get my dissertation and my working papers off my webpage. Or check out my main page featuring my eccentric combination of interests in economics, philosophy, political theory,etc.

Return to Bryan Caplan's webpage