A Quick Note on the AEA Conference

I had hoped to live-blog the American Economics Association sessions I attended over the past few days in Denver — and thanks for your suggestions — but, alas, it was nearly impossible to get a good internet connection in the (mostly) underground meeting rooms. By that measure, and a few others, it felt very twentieth century. For a bunch of people interested in efficiencies, there were scads of inefficiencies, including the fact that small seminar rooms were often overflowing, big ones were sometimes 80 percent empty; in almost all cases it was hard to see and hear the presentation unless you sat in the first few rows; even though most meeting rooms had a TV monitor outside it, those monitors contained no information about the current session; and, with 60 or 70 simultaneous sessions, the paradox of choice was a legitimate handicap. That said, it was great to hear presentations by and chat with so many of the economists whose work I admire: Levitt, of course (who gave a bundle of papers, most of them new and some quite interesting), as well as scholars whose work you’ve encountered on this blog and elsewhere: Richard Thaler, Justin Wolfers, Dan Hamermesh, Robert Shiller, Orley Ashenfelter, Robert Frank, Avinash Dixit, Alan Kreuger, George Loewenstein, Annamaria Lusardi, and many, many others. I will write up some of what I learned at AEA in the coming weeks, and you’ll surely hear traces of it in forthcoming Freakonomics Radio pieces as well.

Drill-Baby-Drill drill Team

Your lack of WiFi is predictable. The Elite have all the modern gadgets: a smart cell phone(or two), iBooks, GPS, Pad, Netbooks, and laptops(or two).

There are too many piglets and not enough nipples.

And the Tower of Babel of the past is a virtual cell tower spectrum of mis-frequencies.

I carry a Copybook and a cheap ball point pen.

Meg Smith

The list of economists you admire is primarily men (as are the blogging economists on freakonomics). While the field is clearly dominated by men, I find it hard to believe that there are so few admirable female economists. There may be some women in your "many, many others", the lack of women in your original list should call attention to the possible (and problematic) gender bias among the top economists.

Alyssa Buckley

It was great to meet you. I was the librarian on Saturday to who slid in to shake your hand right after you were telling the students about your brother. My husband and his office mate stood behind me. Great meeting you! Looking forward to your posts from the weekend. :)

Chris Russo

@Meg - Why assume that the fault is with a bias among the top economists? Might that represent a bias of your own? Do you have data to suggest that in a list of ten top economists at the AEA conference there was a statistically significant number of top female economists who should likely have been mentioned?

As a hiring manager in an engineering firm, I often find it ignorant and sad when my office and industry are accused of some bias against women because of the noticeable lack of them. The fact is that my team and I are biased TOWARD bringing women into the office and into interviews. I've bent the experience requirements on multiple occasions just to give women a chance in our office.

Your baseless bias accusations are insulting and do nothing to further any goals you have to legitimize your gender's role in a given field.