Tuesday, September 05, 2006

What Do Economics Professors Do All Day?

I am in strange situation. At Tufts, classes have not started yet. The Brookings Press has told me that my book has been published and that they have seen it and it "looks great". So, I feel like a guy who knows that he is a father but hasn't met his own kid. I do know that "my kid" is green because I picked such a strange cover color.

I arrived at the Tufts campus today at 1030am. Since I knew that my office PC's password has been changed, I went to the campus library to check my e-mail. For security reasons our passwords are changed on an almost monthly basis and as I get older I can only remember my e-mail password and my ATM car password. Some blog readers had mailed me some mildly interesting stuff to think about. At 11am, I met with the TAs for my microeconomics class and we had a good meeting planning out the course and their responsibilities. I then had lunch with Gib Metcalf who told me about some of his new ideas on energy supply. I realized that it is amazing how few academic economists work on energy issues. He took me over to the Economics department where the new Chair (Enrico Spolaore) was kind enough to show me the new Chairman's office and we took a look at the seminar room where we will be holding the tuesday research seminars. The room looked pretty good but it had a bad smell.

At 2pm, I met Ed Glaeser at his Kennedy School Office. He showed me some of his recent Boston Globe editorials and we talked about research. We have a 8 year old paper called "Poor in Cities" that we are optimistic could be published soon. We discussed the editor's report that we had received ---the editor's comments were quite fair. Glaeser told me about the book he is writing now on the history of major cities. It sounded quite interesting.

At 330pm, I finally made it to the NBER to do some work. I admit that I'm starting the research part of this day pretty late. But a productive guy like me can get a lot done in 1.5 hours! Go read my new book and you will see! I worked hard to finish paper #1 below.

Randy Walsh has invited me to a University of Colorado environmental economics conference. There I will present the following 2 papers in 1 hour!

1. Do Greens Drive Hummers or Hybrids? Environmental Ideology as a Determinant of Consumer Choice

2. Greens are Guinea Pigs who Purchase Sustainable Products: Evidence From Hybrid Vehicles Registrations

My problem at this conference is that it is beer hour once my talk is done. I'm worried that folks will be watching the clock if my papers stink. Conferences provide an excellent commitment device and I'm looking forward to Veil, Colorado. My wife encouraged me to stop calling it "Veal, Colorado".

To end this exciting day, I actually had to do some grading. Somehow the Fletcher School has exams that students take at the start of the term to gain an exemption from taking certain classes. I had the thrill of grading 30 of these. And people wonder why I am visiting UCLA starting this winter?

On an unrelated note, the New York Times has some interesting urban economics today.

One is on the Brooklyn developer Rattner scaling back his project by 10% to fend off critics

The other was about ethnic diversity and unrest in a small Maine town.