Lansing Community College

LCC economics professor goes viral for toilet paper blog post

By Marilyn Twine

James Luke - LCC

LANSING, Mich. – LCC economics professor Jim Luke has seen his typical blog post traffic go from a normal read of 600-1000 people to over 1700 a few weeks ago for his post “Toilet Paper in a Pandemic.”

Luke has been quoted by more than 150 news outlets since a journalist being interviewed on MSNBC mentioned his blog post that examines the economics of toilet paper. Luke once worked in the paper industry as the head of planning for a company that sold a number of paper products, and a lot of toilet paper. He became increasingly frustrated that people were concluding the nation’s toilet paper shortage since the onset of COVID-19 was solely related to people hoarding the new paper gold. He understood from his time spent in the industry that it was much more to it; it was economics -- supply chains and demand.

The light-hearted story has produced quotes from Luke on ABC News, NBC News, the Associated Press, several NPR stations, The New Yorker, USA Today, Fox Business, Voice of America, and others. He has since been dubbed as a “noted toilet paper economist” and a “loo roll expert” by a professor friend in the UK.

He has been interviewed by FOX News radio which did a nearly 25-minute interview which caused Luke to joke, “That is an eternity in radio.” FOX News went on to ask him other questions about the economy’s prospects, “I hadn’t expected that,” Luke quipped. “Talk about having to think fast on your feet.” Other interviews have followed and, he is still being quoted as recent as this morning.

When asked how he feels about his 15 minutes of fame, Luke said, “As my career approaches its later stages, I can be smug in the knowledge that literally millions of people have heard my name and they associate it with toilet paper.”

Luke has taught economics at LCC since 2002.


About Lansing Community College

Lansing Community College, founded in 1957, is one of the largest community colleges in Michigan, serving more than 23,000 students across a six-county area each year. LCC offers courses in general education for those interested in transferring to a four-year institution, career and workforce development, developmental education and personal enrichment. To meet the professional development and training needs of regional employees, the college offers customized programs for credit, non-credit and continuing education. The University Center at LCC offers students the opportunity to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees from five partner universities on the downtown LCC campus. For more information, visit

Lansing Community College provides equal opportunity for all persons and prohibits discriminatory practices based on race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, creed, ancestry, height, weight, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, familial status, marital status, military status, veteran’s status, or other status as protected by law, or genetic information that is unrelated to the person’s ability to perform the duties of a particular job or position or participate in educational programs, courses, services or activities offered by the College.

The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies: Equal Opportunity Officer, Washington Court Place, 309 N. Washington Square Lansing, MI 48933, 517-483-1730; Employee Coordinator 504/ADA, Administration Building, 610 N. Capitol Ave. Lansing, MI 48933, 517-483-1875; Student Coordinator 504/ADA, Gannon Building, 411 N. Grand Ave. Lansing, MI 48933, 517-483-1885; Human Resource Manager/Employee Title IX Coordinator, Administration Building, 610 N. Capitol Ave. Lansing, MI 48933, 517-483-1879; Student Title IX Coordinator, Gannon Building, 411 N. Grand Ave. Lansing, MI 48933, 517-483-9632.


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