Presidential Letter 2017-09-07T16:16:11+00:00

Letter from the President

Dear Friends:

I am looking forward this year’s meeting in Edinburgh.  The School of Economics at the University of Edinburgh will host the meeting 22–24 June 2017.  The Local Organizing Committee, headed by Sevi Rodríguez Mora and Tim Worrall have set up what I am sure will be a stimulating and enjoyable meeting.  The Program Committee, headed by Veronica Rappoport and Kim Ruhl, is putting the final touches on a high-quality program and have lined up an impressive set of plenary speakers:  Francesco Caselli, Erik Hurst, and Ayse Imtohoroglu.

At last year’s meeting in Toulouse, we had extensive discussions on how to be able to accept a higher fraction of submissions to the annual meeting.  I am happy to report that Veronica and Kim, with the help of Sevi and Tim, have made some progress in this direction.  The most important step was to expand the number of simultaneous sessions during every time slot from 13 to 14.  (Remember that in Toulouse we had expanded from 12 to 13.)  Once again, we had a large number of submissions, 1638, falling just short of last year’s record of 1662.  Since we were able to increase the number of acceptances from 468 to 504, the acceptance rate increased from 28.2 percent in Toulouse to 30.8 percent in Edinburgh.  I understand that our adjustments have not been enough to keep many loyal SED members happy, however.  Our program committee does not have the resources to screen papers as carefully as our journal does, and we are clearly rejecting some very good submissions.  We will continue to explore options for expanding the meeting when we meet in Edinburgh.

Last year at the dinner in Toulouse and in my letter, I mentioned some of the options that we are exploring to increase the number of accepted papers:  elimination of one or more plenary sessions, elimination of the dinner, an increase in number of parallel sessions, the addition of another day to conference, and a reduction in size of Program Committee and corresponding reduction of the number of invited sessions.  I have received a lot of feedback from SED members (And I thank you for it!).  There was some consensus that we should expand the number of parallel sessions, but not too much.  Doing so, as we are doing this year, requires some changes in the way we think about the dinner, at least at many of the venues that local organizers propose.  A formal dinner for six or seven hundred people requires facilities that are not available in many places, and it tends to be very expensive and not very good.  Most of you with whom I talked or who wrote to me thought that we should have some sort of social event like a dinner but that we could be flexible about it.  We will explore options in this direction in the future.  A reduction in the size of the Program Committee was also a popular option and is already something that we have been doing, although a number of you noted that many, if not most, of the papers included in invited sessions would have been included anyway.  Elimination of one or more plenary sessions is far more controversial, with some SED members strongly opposed and others strongly in favor.  Since I myself am in favor of keeping the plenary sessions, this is probably not an option that we will try out in the near future. The least popular option that I proposed was adding another day or half day to the conference.  Because this option will be so easy to try out in some proposed venues, however, it is probably something that we will try out.  When Antonio Merlo and I did this at the 1998 Meeting in Alghero, it worked fairly well.  If we do it, I pledge that I will ask the Program Committee Co-Chairs, if they accept my paper, to put me into a session on Sunday morning or Wednesday afternoon, whenever we decide to do it.

One thing that we added to the meeting last year to make it easier for young people to participate was a poster session.  Christian Hellwig and Franck Portier did a great job putting together a session that was popular both with the presenters and with other meeting attendees.  Veronica and Kim are working with Sevi and Tim to put an expanded poster session this year.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions on the issues of expanding our meetings, you can send them to me at tkehoe@umn.edu or tell me about them in Edinburgh.  The task is a difficult one, and we will continue to experiment.  For every SED member who is in favor of radical changes to expand the meetings, there is another SED member who feels that we are already doing things well.

The 2018 Meeting will be held in Mexico on 28–30 June, possibly expanded to the afternoon of 27 June or the morning of 1 July.  It will be sponsored by the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México with the support of the Banco de México.  The local organizing committee, headed by Diego Domínguez, Germán Rojas, and Carlos Urrutia, is already arranging what promises to be a fabulous meeting (And I mean FABULOUS). We have managed to recruit David Lagakos and Guillermo Ordoñez to be the Co-Chairs of the Program Committee.

We have had a number of changes in the Editorial Board of the Review of Economic Dynamics.  You can find all of the information elsewhere in this newsletter, but let me focus on three:  Matthias Doepke is ending his term as Coordinating Editor.  On behalf of the Society, I want to thank Matthias for his service.  If you take a look at the journal rankings on RePEc, you will see that the ranking of RED has been steadily improving.  Matthias started as Coordinating Editor in July 2013.  He will continue to serve as Editor on papers that were submitted during his term.  The SED Board of Directors has managed to recruit Jonathan Heathcote and Vincenzo Quadrini to serve as Coordinating Editors effective 1 May, 2017.  Welcome, Jonathan and Vincenzo!  Finally, Richard Rogerson is ending his term as Associate Editor.  Richard served as Associate Editor 1997–2001 and 2007–2017 and as Editor 2001–2007.  He also served as President of the Society 2009–2012.  This is a truly impressive record of service to our Society.  Thanks, Richard!

I look forward to seeing those of you who were lucky enough to have your paper accepted in Edinburgh.  I hope that we can find additional ways to adding more acceptances for the Mexico City Meeting.

As I say, I am getting excited about the Edinburgh Meeting.  Looking at the conference website, I see a web page on the restaurants and pubs in Edinburgh.  I intend to sample these offerings extensively.  I hope that you can join me.

Tim Kehoe

President, Society for Economic Dynamics