December in Cambridge may be rainy and cold but I'm glad I'm here. Here are all of the economic history papers I listened to over the last 1.5 days at the Goldin Conference. Roughly 100 researchers attended. Having married a leading econ historian, and co-authoring an economic history book and several other economic history pieces, I have some credibility with this crew. Can you identify the dinner time speaker in the photo below? Perhaps I am not Andy Warhol? Despite my bad photography, I hope you can see Gary Becker. He gave a great talk about Claudia Goldin's contributions to economics.
During the conference paper presentations, I sat between Stan Engerman and Gary and we had ample time to talk about many economic issues. There were dozens of economists attending the meetings whom I deeply respect and I just kept talking and debating with new and old friends.
The endless talk about economics (which is distinct from gossiping about the profession of economics --- gossip no longer interests me so much) doesn't take place anywhere but Chicago and Cambridge. In limited doses, this is quite invigorating. After commenting on Ed Glaeser's paper on beliefs, we came up with a game plan for how to write a paper on environmental beliefs that builds on his work. Tonight, Paul Rhode and I head out for dinner to discuss our disasters research. On Friday night, I went to dinner with my co-author Danglun Luo and we discussed the two papers we are writing on environmental performance in China. Tomorrow, I will return to the sunshine of LA and try to make more progress.
For those who want to see what I had to say about the Glaeser and Ma paper, here are my slides. In 15 minutes, I tried to share my beliefs about beliefs. The more I think about this I actually believe this is a central issue in environmental economics. Given that I don't work on gender issues, I will leave it to the pros to decide how relevant beliefs are for the study of male/female choices and outcomes.