Favorite papers from the 2008 AEA in New Orleans (all PDF, ungated):
Emily Haisley on lottery tickets and perception. I heard about this paper before reading it. Such a simple idea, such a direct experiment.
Michele Tertilt: Women’s Liberation: What’s in it for Men (with M. Doepke). The next step is to figure out why so many rulers started having a significant number of female children. But that’s for sociologists, whose work is harder than that of economists.
Dean Yang and Sharon Maccini: Under the Weather: Health, Schooling, and Socioeconomic Consequences of Early-Life Rainfall. The paper that convinced me that Economics really is a good field in which to work.
Marcellus Andrews, “Risk, Inequality, and the economics of disaster.” This was much better live, where he prefaced it by taking about coming the hotel as an insurance inspector and pointed to the “sh*t line.” After the presentation, people were coming out, talking about how if they had wanted a sermon, they would have gone to church. Only person I went out of my way to thank for his talk, interrupting him conversation with Jamie Galbraith in the process.
Acemoglu and Finkelstein, Input and Technology Choices in Regulated Industries: Evidence from the Health Care Sector. Two future Nobelists collaborate. What’s not to like?
Dani Rodrik, Second Best Institutions. The best of a set of presentations.