The annual American Economic Association meetings used to be a terrific affair. New research was presented. It was the place to go to see what was happening at the frontier. And that was only 15 years ago.
Well, all that has changed. The AEAs are now a dull affair on the whole. Put simply, all of the research is now available earlier and on the Internet so conference presentations have lost their glamour. I attended a couple of sessions (only because they might possibly be interesting) and found them to be sparsely attended and not that interesting. If it wasn’t for the other reasons to travel to the US (an NBER pre-conference on entrepreneurship and a seminar presentation at Wharton) I would not go anywhere near them.
This cartoon appeared during the meetings and seems to reflect my mood.
Oh and yes, there is always a new scandal to get gossip flowing; making my visit to Penn a little more interesting too.
Finally, here is an account from David Warsh whom I saw wandering around some of the sessions and clearly seemed more excited than I was. Then perhaps he might not track developments on the Internet as I do.