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Erie Money
Famous Economists
Economist Jokes
The Richest People
Econ Songs
Interesting Econ Books


Did you know that Erie-area governments and businesses issued their own money in the past? Here are some examples. Click on the name to see the note.

  • Erie City Bank, 18--, H114-10a, $5
  • Borough of Erie, 1816, H114-19, 25c
  • Borough of Erie, 1836, $2
  • Erie City Bank, 1841, H114-9, $2
  • Erie City Bank, 1850, $5
  • Bank of Commerce (Erie), 1859, $5
  • County Bank, 1861, H113-41, $2
  • Erie City Bank, 1862, H114-23, 5c
  • Erie City Bank, 1862, H114-28, 50c
  • County Bank, 1864, H114-29, $1
  • 2nd NB, 1904, $20
  • Marine NB, 1905, $20
  • 1st NB, 1929, $20
  • 2nd NB, 1929, $10
  • 2nd NB, 1929, $20
  • Marine NB, 1929, $10
  • Marine NB, 1929, $20
  • County Bank, Poor Board Warrant, 1933, $1
  • Erie City Bank, Specimen Gem CU Obv, 1935, $1
  • Erie City Bank, AU, 10c
  • Bank of Commerce, H114-3a, $10

  • Bradford:
  • FNB, 1900, $5

  • Cambridge Springs:
  • FNB, 1929, $5

  • Clymer:
  • Atlas Bank,1847, $1

  • Corry:
  • NB, 1902, $10, EF Front
  • NB, 1902, $10, EF Back
  • Citizens NB, 1929, $20

  • Dunkirk:
  • Lake Shore NB, 1929, $20

  • Girard:
  • 1910, Battles Check
  • NB, 1929, $20

  • Meadville / Crawford County:
  • 1861, $5
  • 18--, $1

  • North East:
  • Blaine, CU, 1862, 50c
  • 1st NB, Type1 VF, 1929, $10

  • Oil City:
  • Oil City Bank, 1864, $5
  • Oil City Bank, 1864, $10
  • Oil City NB, 1929, $5

  • Ripley:
  • FNB, 1929, $10

  • Salamanca:
  • NY FNB, 1875, $5 Obv
  • NY FNB, 1875, $5 Rev

  • Tionesta:
  • Forest County NB, 1861, $50

  • Titusville:
  • Petroleum Bank, $1

  • Union City:
  • Home NB, 1929, $10
  • NB, 1929, $20

  • Warren:
  • North Western Bank (Warren), 1859, $5
  • North Western Bank (Warren), 1859, $10
  • North Western Bank (Warren), 1860, $10
  • North Western Bank (Warren), 1861, $2
  • North Western Bank (Warren), 1861, $5

  • Westfield:
  • 1852, $2
  • NB, 1902, $10

  • The authority for obsolete Pennsylvania bank notes is: Richard T. Hoober, Pennsylvania Obsolete Notes and Scrip. The Society of Paper Money Collectors, Inc., 1985.


    Want to know more about your favorite economist—or see what s/he really looked like?
  • Biographies
  • Portraits
  • Nobel Prize Winners
  • Interesting short articles written by the winners:
  • Overview of the Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences by Assar Lindbeck
  • How I Became an Economist by Paul A. Samuelson
  • Is there Life After Nobel Coronation? by Paul A. Samuelson
  • Notes on Nobelity by James M. Buchanan

    Some of our favorite jokes:
    • An Economics graduate from an Ivy League school went for his first job interview. As the interviewer described the position, the graduate realized that there was a mistake; this job was for a janitor, not an economic analyst. He interrupted the interviewer and said: “Sir, you need to know that I have a degree in Economics!” The interviewer replied: “Don’t worry, we’ll show you how to use the broom.”
    • Economics is the only field in which two people can get a Nobel Prize for saying exactly the opposite thing.
    • A man walking along a road in the countryside comes across a shepherd and a huge flock of sheep. Tells the shepherd, "I will bet you $100 against one of your sheep that I can tell you the exact number in this flock." The shepherd thinks it over; it's a big flock so he takes the bet. "973," says the man. The shepherd is astonished, because that is exactly right. Says "OK, I'm a man of my word, take an animal." Man picks one up and begins to walk away. "Wait," cries the shepherd, "Let me have a chance to get even. Double or nothing that I can guess your exact occupation." Man says sure. "You are an economist for a government think tank," says the shepherd. "Amazing!" responds the man, "You are exactly right! But tell me, how did you deduce that?" "Well," says the shepherd, "put down my dog and I will tell you."
    • A guy walks into a DC curio shop. While browsing he comes across an exquisite brass rat. "What a great gag gift" he thinks to himself. After dickering with the shop keeper over the price, the man purchases the rat and leaves. As he's walking down the street, he hears scurrying noises behind him. Stopping and looking around, he sees hundreds, then thousands of rats pouring out of the alleys and stairwells into the street behind him. In a panic he runs down the street with the rats not far behind. The street ends at a pier; he runs to the end of the pier and heaves the brass rat into the Potomac. All of the rats scurry past him into the river where they drown. After breathing a sigh of relief and wiping his brow, the man heads back to the curio shop, finds the shop keeper and asks, "Do you have any brass economists?"
    • 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?"
    Great One Liners & Puns
    • Mathematics brought rigor to Economics. Unfortunately, it also brought mortis.
    • Q: How many economists does it take to change a light bulb?
      A: Eight. One to screw it in and seven to hold everything else constant.
    • Q: How many free-market economists does it take to change a light bulb?
      A: None. If the light bulb needed changing the market would have already done it.
    • Q: How many Marxists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
      A: None - the bulb contains within it the seeds of its own revolution.
    • Q: Why did God create economists ?
      A: In order to make weather forecasters look good.
    • There are three sorts of economist. Those who can count, and those who can't.
    • The First Law of Economists: For every economist, there exists an equal and opposite economist.
      The Second Law of Economists: They're both wrong.
    • Q: What do you get when you cross the Godfather with an economist?
      A: An offer you can't understand.



    There are a lot of songs out there that specifically focus on or incorporate economic issues, but the public at large seems to be unaware of the underlying themes. Here are a few—along with an economist’s interpretation of what they’re really about. The links will take you to the lyrics of the songs, or to a page with info about the artist and/or song. Caution: some of these lyrics are a little rough, especially in the rap category. Just remember, they’re not ours! Another caution: not all of the economic analysis here is what you’d call orthodox. (Suggestions for other songs and/or interpretations welcome! Send ‘em to Jim Kurre at k12@psu.edu.)
    • Abba: Money, Money, Money

    • Flash: it’s better to be rich than poor. At least, Abba thinks so, despite what Puff Daddy, Prince, Tom Petty and others say in other songs below.


    • Joel, Billy: Allentown

    • Life got tough in the coal and steel towns of Pennsylvania in the ‘70s and ‘80s--but Billy seems to have come through okay, hasn’t he? Ringo got Barbara Bach, but Billy got Christie Brinkley, at least for a while. Was it his music, or the money that resulted from it?


    • Springsteen, Bruce: Born in the USA

    • Returning Vietnam vets often came home to hard economic times. This time it was the refinery that didn’t have any jobs. Did the end of the war mean a decrease in fiscal stimulus just as the labor supply was increased by the returning soldiers?
    • Dozens More Econ Songs


    (Yes, some of it is intended to be fiction…)

    Jevons, Marshall. Murder at the Margin. Glen Ridge, N.J.: Thos. Horton, 1978. An economics professor on vacation uses principles of economics to solve a murder; a mixture of Columbo and Milton Friedman. Entertaining, and easy reading. Intended to be used as a supplement to Intro Econ courses, as probably are all the books in this section.

    Jevons, Marshall. A Deadly Indifference. Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 1995.
    Professor Spearman is at it again, solving crimes using principles of economics.

    Roberts, Russell. The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protection, 3rd edition. Prentice-all, 2005.
    0-13-143354-7. An econ novel about international trade. In order to get his wings, the ghost of David Ricardo (the 19th century economist who first proposed the ideas of comparative advantage) must persuade the CEO of an American TV manufacturing company that trade benefits all of us in the long run. A rather painless way to learn about many global economic issues. More “econ” than “novel”.

    Roberts, Russell. The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance. Cambridge MA : The MIT Press, 2001.
    That "economic romance" part sounded like an oxymoron so I had to check it out. It's the story of an economics teacher who is a serious free-market type, and his budding romance with an English lit teacher, who is not. He explains quite a few real-world situations to her, such as: “being pro-free market doesn't necessarily mean being pro-business" and "passing a law will not necessarily make the problem go away; in fact it'll probably make things worse!" and "selling rights to pollute is probably the best way to get a cleaner environment."

    Wolfson, Murray and Vincent Buranelli. In the Long Run We Are All Dead. New York : St. Martin 's Press, 1984. A macroeconomics murder mystery, taking its title from a famous quote by J. M. Keynes (who is dead, by the way).

    Armstrong, Fred C. The Business of Economics. St. Paul : West Publishing Co., 1986.
    Lots of interesting little nitty-gritty details on how the economy and businesses function.

    Barro, Robert J. Getting It Right: Markets and Choices in a Free Society. Cambridge , MA : The MIT Press, 1996. ISBN: 0-262-02408-X (HB), 0-262-52226-8 (PB) Short essays on many current issues, from the perspective of the “right.” Many are thought-provoking, even if you don't agree.

    Buchholz, Todd G. From Here to Economy: A Shortcut to Economic Literacy. New York : Penguin Books USA Inc., 1995. A very readable, seat-of-the-pants explanation of economic basics, full of examples and humorous anecdotes.

    Buchholz, Todd G. New Ideas from Dead Economists: An Introduction to Modern Economic Thought. Penguin, 1999. ISBN: 0452280524. A very interesting and entertaining look at the history and evolution of economic ideas.

    Clayton, Gary E. and Giesbrecht, Martin Gerhard. A Guide to Everyday Economic Statistics, 6th edition. McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2004. ISBN: 0-07-287329-9. A brief book that gives short synopses of most of the important economic measures, such as output, investment and capital, employment, income, sales, profits, prices, money, interest rates, the financial markets, and foreign exchange.

    Coyle, Diane. Sex, Drugs & Economics: An Unconventional Introduction to Economics. Thomson: 2004. Another “let's apply econ to everyday life” book. Unfortunately, it's not as exciting as that clever title. Still, there are some very interesting and thought provoking issues covered.

    Easterbrook, Gregg. The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse. Random House, 2003. Easterbrook presents statistics on how life has gotten better in many important ways, yet people tend to focus on the negatives.

    Florida, Richard. The Rise of the Creative Class. New York : Basic Books, 2002. ISBN: 0-465-02477-7. Carnegie Mellon prof Florida describes how the creative class plays a key role in economic development, through “talent, technology and tolerance.” According to Florida, in order to attract creative people, a place must provide high-quality amenities, diversity of all kinds, and opportunities for “bohemian lifestyles”, and the government must invest in creative capital such as research and development, education and the arts.

    Friedman, David. Hidden Order: The Economics of Everyday Life. HarperBusiness: 1996. ISBN 0-88730-885-6 Interesting, broad and clever. A little more sophisticated in its economic analysis.

    Friedman, Milton and Rose. Free to Choose. New York : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979. ISBN 0-15-133481-1. This Nobel-prize winning economist and his economist wife discuss economics, politics, the role of government, and many other topics in a very understandable way. Friedman is probably THE most noted—and tenacious--free market advocate. This book accompanied the TV series of the same name, produced by Erie 's own WQLN.

    Hammermesh, Daniel S. Economics Is Everywhere. 2nd edition. McGrawHill-Irwin, 2006. ISBN 0-07-285143-0. 400 vignettes from everyday life, each involving a principle of economics. This one has more questions than answers, though, since it's apparently intended to be used to provoke discussion in Intro Economics courses.

    Harford, Tim. The Undercover Economist: Exposing Why the Rich are Rich, the Poor are Poor—and Why You Can Never Buy a Decent Used Car! Oxford University Press: 2006. This is the Intro Economics class disguised in an interesting and readable format. It'll make you think!

    Garson, Barbara. Money Makes the World Go Round. Penguin Books, 2002. ISBN 0142000507. Barbara Garson begins by depositing a modest sum in a one-branch bank. With a second sum, she buys shares in an aggressive mutual fund. From these points of departure, she tracks her money's every stop as it races around the globe. Along the way she talks to people who touch, use, and are used by her money. The book provides a useful way to understand many of the forces of "globalization," but without abstract or technical explanations.

    Johnson, David B. The Black Book of Economic Information: A Guide to Sources and Interpretation. Sun Lakes , AZ : Thomas Horton and Daughters, 1996. ISBN: 0-091 3878-56-1. Need some background but don't want to wade through your old college textbook? Here's a useful source.

    Krugman, Paul. Pop Internationalism. Cambridge, MA : The MIT Press, 1996. ISBN: 0-262-11210-8 (HB) 0-262-61133-3 (PB). Krugman is a (relatively) young, award-winning Econ star. He believes that Econ should be understandable to the intelligent person on the street, so that s/he can make better decisions both individually and at election time. This book and others that he has authored follow that idea.

    Landsburg, Steven. The Armchair Economist: Economics and Everyday Experience. Free Press: 1995. The Library Journal says: “Landsburg demonstrates the economist's way of thinking about everyday occurrences. The result is a compilation of questions ranging from why popcorn costs so much at movie theaters and why rock concerts sell out to why laws against polygamy are detrimental to women. Many of the issues raised are controversial and even somewhat humorous, but they are clearly explained only from an economic perspective as opposed to other dynamics of human behavior. There are also clear explanations of the misconceptions about unemployment rates, measures of inflation, and interest rates. The book is not a textbook but shows how one economist solves puzzling questions that occur in daily living.”

    Levitt, Stephen D. and Dubner, Stephen J. Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. William Morrow, HarperCollins Publishers. 2005. Here's an interesting book (and best seller!) that will give you a different perspective on everyday things.  Levitt is the winner of the John Bates Clark medal (best economist under the age of 40), and Dubner is the NY Times and New Yorker writer who makes it all sound more interesting (as if Econ needs any help to be interesting!)
        They ask interesting, off the wall questions and see if Econ can shed some light on them.  The issues discussed in this book share the underlying theme that people respond to incentives.  If you see where the incentives are, you begin to understand behavior-­even if it seems unusual or downright strange.  This is a very useful skill to have!
        Some of the more interesting issues they cover: how the “no child left behind” legislation gave teachers an incentive to cheat on testing, and how statistical analysis can be used to identify who the cheaters are.  They talk about the importance of inside/specialist information and how the experts sell this and try to keep it secret.  Examples are the similarities between the KKK and real estate agents!  For the latter, they point out that realtors behave differently when selling their own houses than when they're selling your house.  They tell an interesting story about a colleague who spent a year with a Chicago crack gang, and compare their structure to McDonald's or other big corporations.  They look at the surprising drop in serious crime in the 1990s, exploring several proposed reasons.  Their controversial conclusion: it has a lot to do with Roe v. Wade.  They also look at the relationship of various factors with parenting-­-what helps a kid do well later.  Again, they find some counter-intuitive things.
        Well worth reading!  (And it will make people wonder about you....)  This will be a lot more fun than that Samuelson text you remember from college, trust me.  And it doesn't weigh as much, either.

    Marche, G.E. Murder as a Business Decision, (An Economic Analysis of Criminal Phenomena.) 2nd edition. ISBN: 0-7618-2398-0. We don't know if this book is any good or not, but we loved the title! Wonder if it's in Martha Stewart's library?

    Miller, Roger LeRoy; Benjamin, Daniel K.; and North, Douglass C. The Economics of Public Issues. 13th edition. Addison Wesley: 2003. This is one of the original books in this “let's apply Econ to a bunch of interesting stuff” genre. Although intended as a supplement for Intro Econ courses, it's still a good read!

    Moore, Stephen and Simon, Julian L. It's Getting Better All the Time: Greatest Trends of the Last 100 Years. If all the gloom and doom of the headlines is getting you down, pick up this book. It'll help you focus on all the good stuff that has been happening, everything from the increases in health, education and housing to decreases in racism and expansion of natural resource availability. Who says Econ is a dismal science?

    Sowell, Thomas. Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy. New York : Basic Books, 2000.
    ISBN: 0-465-08138-X. Conservative economist Sowell discusses many economic issues in an understandable way, such as the minimum wage, innovation, risk and profit, and economic fallacies. This book has been called “an updated, if one-sided exposition of ideas put forward in Milton and Rose Friedman's Free to Choose.”

    Stossel, John. Give Me A Break. New York : Harper/Collins, 2004. ABC's 20/20 co-anchor talks about his trip from crusading consumer reporter and fan of government to a believer in the power of the free market to solve many of our problems—if we let it.

    Stutely, Richard. The Economist Numbers Guide: The Essentials of Business Numeracy. Wiley, 1998.
    ISBN: 0-471-24954-8. Looking for a guide to math and statistical tools for decision-making? Here's a good one.

    Tufte, Edward R. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Cheshire CT : Graphics Press, 1983.
    This is the classic on how to present data in graphical and tabular format. Lots of good ideas as well as historical background of this relatively recent invention. Not exactly a page-turning novel, but interesting if you use graphs in your work at all.

    Watts, Michael. The Literary Book of Economics: Including Readings from Literature and Drama on Economic Concepts, Issues, and Themes. Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2003. ISBN: 1932236023. This book shows how economics or economic analysis has been actually quite pervasive in many important and well-know works of literature. For example, the editor explains how Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken" illustrates opportunity costs, how "Pareto efficiency" crops up in the book "Catch-22," etc.

    Wheelan, Charles. Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science. W.W. Norton, 2002. ISBN: 0-393-04982-5. This is “Econ 101” in a readable form, discussing issues such as choices, incentives, tradeoffs, prices, costs, the economics of information, environmental problems, health care, risk and safety, inflation and unemployment. Gets the prize for “Econ book with the most provocative title.”

    (More to be added. Check back occasionally.)

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