Saturday, January 07, 2006

a somewhat-lapsed sociologist doing an unlicensed anthropology of economics

I heard the American Economic Association meetings were in Boston this weekend, so I decided to go. Turns out, it's actually called the Allied Social Science Association meetings, which is basically the American Economic Association and these other associations that represent different subareas of economics or constituencies of economists (more or less). In all, there are 53 different associations listed in the program, with the longest acronym going to the American Real Estate & Urban Economic Association (AREUEA).

You might expect that the economics meetings would be overwhelmingly male. And, lo, you'd be right, especially once you start looking at the affiliations on the nametags and eliminating exhibitors from one's mental tally. The listing of associations in the program also listed their Executive Officers/Presidents. Being the continual monitor of the gender distribution of the democratic leadership of different disciplines (see here), I counted the number of female executive officers: 4 out of 53, representing the "Economists for Peace & Security (EPS)," the "International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE)," "National Association of Economic Educators (NAEE)," and the "National Association for Business Economists (NABE)."

You might also expect that the economics meetings would be more efficiently and better organized than, say, the sociology meetings, and you'd also be right about that. The typical format for paper sessions here is to have a paper for 20 minutes, immediately followed by a discussant who comments on just that paper for 10 minutes. This is way better than the way sociology does it, where you have 4-5 speakers go for 15 minutes and then a single discussant commenting on all papers for 5-10 minutes at the end. Indeed, for the sessions I've seen so far, the discussant comments have overall been at least as interesting as the papers themselves.

That said, I don't know why they have such lame nametags. Back at Wisconsin Sociology, we'll have way more professional nametags than this for the prospective student Visit Day. Indeed, for nostalgia's sake, here's the tags one subarea made in 2003:


Tom Bozzo said...

You know, at one point I was going to try to get my employer to pay my way to the ASSAs so we could party down and make fun of the econ dorks. Not sure how the plan got derailed.

My PhD program's student body was about 40% women, and myopia made me believe for a while that such a mix wasn't unusual. Then the ASSAs came to Washington, and culture shock ensued.

The name tag is unbelievably lame -- someone was too lost in thoughts of general equilibrium to realize that the caps lock key was on?

Anonymous said...

yALE took its revenge for the game.