Wednesday, January 09, 2008

How the AEA is like a Science Fiction Convention

by Ken Houghton

  1. Gushy Personnel Sightings:
    1. Flying down, trying to keep eyes open (or possibly close them), but the gentleman next to me is working. On Stata code. That I can almost understand. Gradually realise it was Daniele Paserman.
    2. My earlier prediction turns out to be, unintentionally, correct. Walk into Krugman, Blinder, Roubini, and Shiller during the Q&A session, taking a just-opened seat in the back. Find self next to Joseph Stiglitz, and about five feet from Avinash Dixit.

  2. We Don't Need No Stinking Badges - many prominent signs indicate that badges are required, but very rarely does anyone check. I carry mine in my pocket most of the time.
  3. The Irrational Badge Exception—the Book room. The one place where the participants want as many visitors as possible is restricted.
  4. The Book Room II: Last-day sales. Andrew (who interned there last summer) picks up multiple CATO books. I get a copy of this for half-price. An electronic publisher is giving away copies of Greg Mankiw's textbook (link h/t DeLong) in electronic form.

All in all, it reminded me of a World Fantasy Convention. But someone really needs to do a study of why the book room—the only exemplar of a free market in the convention—is Members Only.

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