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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

ASSA Annual Meeting, San Diego: Interviews, presentations, running, and friends

Early this morning I landed in Roanoke, VA after an exciting, but tiring, trip to San Diego. I attended the 2013 Allied Social Science Associations (ASSA) Annual Meeting. This is one of the largest and arguably the most prestigious academic conference in the world of economics. (We even had a cool app for our iPhones...that is big time.)

There were several purposes of the trip:
1. Interview candidates for the Assistant Professor of Economics (development and/or environmental preferable) opening in our program at Roanoke College. We (colleagues Dr. Garry Fleming and Dr. Edward Nik-Khah and I) interviewed nine candidates on Friday and Saturday that we selected from over 300 applications. The academic labor market for economics appears to be improving, although there is a surplus of PhD's.

2. Chair and present in a session sponsored by LERA:
The Impact of Mental and Emotional Health, Stress and Disability over the Business Cycle (Symposium)—Laguna

Chair: Alice Louise KassensRoanoke College
Presenters: Alice Louise KassensRoanoke College and William M. Rodgers IIIRutgers UniversityThe Impact of Clinical Depression on the Labor Market Outcomes of Young Adults during Economic Downturn
Samuel L. MyersUniversity of Minnesota and Ding SaiChinese Academy of Social SciencesThe Effects of Disability on Earnings in China and the United States over the Business Cycle
Tim M. Diette and Arthur H. GoldsmithWashington and Lee University and Darrick HamiltonThe New SchoolRevisiting the Long-Term Unemployment and Mental Health Causality Quandary: A New -- Resilient Population -- Approach and Results
John ChaissonThought Leadership InstituteA Study to Identify the Effects of Candidate and Employer Recessionary Stress on the Quality of Hire, Candidate Fit and Hiring Efficiency
Discussants: Alvin E. Headen, Jr.North Carolina State University
Lauren AppelbaumUniversity of California, Los Angeles

This session was special for several reasons. First, it was my first opportunity to present a paper at  ASSA which is a big professional accomplishment. Second, the composition of the group. William M. Rodgers III is not only my coauthor, but he was my undergraduate professor at The College of William and Mary and has played a tremendous role in my life (along with his amazingly brilliant wife, Yana). Al Headen was one of my professors in graduate school, and was the chair of my dissertation committee. Again, a person who has given me great advice over the years and is very special to me.

The session went smoothly and some interesting topics were discussed. Art Goldsmith had many thoughtful and useful comments for Bill and my work. The presentation that I gave is below if you want to check it out!

3. Connect with colleagues. Given Bill works at Rutgers, we have to make the most of opportunities to work face-to-face. We had two productive meetings, one before the presentation and one afterwards, to review our results and talk about next steps.

Saturday afternoon Bill brought me to the business meeting and book author celebration for the International Association for Feminist Economists (IAFFE). Yana is quite active in this organization and introduced me to many of the women of IAFFE after the meeting. I plan to join the group and hope to become a useful and productive member.

Saturday I had lunch with Al Headen between interviews. I adore his wit and if you listen carefully he is a wealth of information and advice. He is brilliant (PhD=MIT) and has a wealth of advice and experiences to share, but he does not force it on anyone. He generously offers it, but it is up to you to take the advice and run with it. He keeps me on my toes.

Of course, I made time for play! I got up around 5 am each morning to work and go for a run. Due to time constraints, I had to stick close to the hotel, but running in warm weather along the water beats the cold any day. Sunday night I hammered out 7 x mile tempo workout on Harbor Island. Perfect place for that workout: flat, along the water, and little traffic. I stuck to the main road that follows the water.
Ariel view of Harbor Island. 
Monday I did venture over to Balboa Park since the conference was over and I had more time. There are some mega-hills to climb to get there! The park itself is nice with amazing views of the mountains and water. There are some trails on either side of Florida Drive. I must say that I was not impressed. The trails we have in the Roanoke area are far superior. I am sure that there are many great trail systems in the San Diego area that I did not have time to hit.
One of the trails in Balboa Park
Finally, I was treated to dinner on Sunday night by my good friend Patti and her husband and daughter. I have not seen Patti in years and it was so wonderful to see her again. She is loving the San Diego life!

Next week, the spring 2013 semester begins. I have some new ideas for my Principles course and my Faculty Scholar Award begins. Updates coming soon.