Economics faculty member goes viral for toilet paper blog post

Economics faculty member Jim Luke has been quoted in more than 150 news outlets nationwide since the beginning of April. The topic? The economics of toilet paper.

On March 15, Luke wrote a blog post called “Toilet Paper in a Pandemic.” In it, he talked about how the supply chain behind toilet paper could explain shortages at stores across the country.

About two weeks later, Luke was interviewed by a journalist who had seen the post. That journalist ended up as a guest on MSNBC, and suddenly, Luke became the national expert on toilet paper economics. Since then, he has been quoted on multiple NPR stations, the Associated Press, ABC News, NBC News, The New Yorker, USA Today, Fox Business and Voice of America.

Luke jokes that it’s a bit odd to have his 15 minutes of fame be focused on toilet paper, but he says it’s been a “fun distraction” from the worries of life during COVID-19.

“Now I can rest easy knowing that millions of people have heard my name and associate it most closely with … toilet paper,” he said.