November 24, 2004
Southern Econ Meetings Diary

I'm back in town for a day between the Southern Econ meetings and a family trip for Thanksgiving. A few highlights and lowlights from the Southerns in New Orleans:

1. Washington University grad student Art Carden was showing off his clever dissertation at the job market poster fair. He uses lynchings as a proxy for the (lack of) rule of law to study its effect on economic growth in the U.S. South. Art's work isn't on the web yet but I'll post an update when he makes it available. His methodology and findings are similar to those in my friend John Dawson's 1998 Econ Inquiry paper.

2. I went to several good sessions on sports economics and saw papers by top-notch folks like Brad Humphreys, Craig Depken, Dennis Coates, John Fizel, Skip Sauer, and Bruce Johnson. Not only are these guys good economists, they're also a collegial bunch. Sauer's paper testing the Moneyball hypothesis is particularly interesting.

3. While there were lots of good sessions at the conference, much of the benefit of conferences is doing some brainstorming with other economists. To this end, my friend John Charles Bradbury of Sabernomics and I spent a few hours and a couple of cigars kicking around a paper idea. I expect to have more on this in a few weeks.

4. About a year ago, I received a lousy referee report. The lousy part wasn't that it recommended rejecting my paper but how it went about doing so. On one hand, it's no big deal--we'll all get (maybe even write) a mediocre report at some time in our careers and we'll all probably benefit from an unduly generous report at some time or another. On the whole, I have nothing to complain about. Nonetheless, I heard lots of griping about this journal's mediocre refereeing from other folks, some of whom indicated they wouldn't be submitting there again soon. Who says reputation effects don't matter ...

5. I had lunch Sunday less than 10 feet from Paul "Broken Window Fallacy" Krugman. I wish I'd had a copy of Bastiat's essay--it would have been fun to ask for an autograph.

6. Dinner Sunday was at the Crescent City Brewhouse. The weiss and dark lager (black forest) were tasty.

7. At the airport yesterday I stopped at Subway (the best of mediocre set of choices) for a sandwich. A large and heavily accented Scottish fellow behind me in line had some difficulty communicating with the sandwich artists. A certain movie character came to mind.

Posted by E. Frank Stephenson at 01:03 PM  ·  TrackBack (133)

The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals would not only load himself with a most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be trusted, not only to no single person, but to no council or senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it. -Adam Smith

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