I agree that Afee should fight to keep the ASSA slots it has, and continue to fight each coming round of reduction of sessions. It is important that young institutionalist scholars have this venue; and some Afee members will be attending anyway for recruitment purposes. Most AFEE members have no reason to go, however--and so do not.

During the last round of cuts to Afee (and other heterodox) sessions, we forced ASSA (which is just a front for AEA) to admit that they had no rational reason to cut our sessions. Diedre McCloskey as well as (if I remember correctly) Leamer were on our side and demanded of the board an explanation. None ever came. It was obvious that the sole reason for the cuts was to reduce sessions for groups the AEA considers to be marginal. It had nothing to do with scarce space.

The AEA understands the logic: if you cut AFEE sessions by 40% you reduce the number of Afee attendees by approximately 40%. (Only the independently wealthy can afford to attend if they are not on the program, of which there are a few but not many among members.) It is a nice virtuous cycle--attendance at subsequent meetings will be lower. So you can count on continued attacks. There is a method in the madness.

My suggestion is this: move the main AFEE meetings out of the ASSA. Hold them elsewhere at a different time. Early January is a horrible time for meetings. Meeting with 20k orthodox economists is undesirable. (Or worse.) Many of us purposely stay away from the "meat market" that is the ASSA. We have AFIT in the west; that is inconvenient for us east coasters (I'm one of those now) and AFIT usually conflicts with Levy's Minsky conference (directly or in close proximity in time) and probably with spring break for others. Maybe a Midwest meeting another time of year for the main AFEE meeting. Or the south in Winter. Or Denver in summer.  Or Rome or the Virgin Islands anytime of year. And maybe join some group that is not as hostile as AEA to get economies of scale.

L. Randall Wray
Senior Scholar, Levy Economics Institute
Papers: www.levyinstitute.org/publications/?auth=287

Co-editor Journal of Post Keynesian Economics
ISSN 0160-3477 (Print), 1557-7821 (Online)


New Book: Why Minsky Matters: An Introduction to the work of a maverick economist, Princeton University Press http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10575.html
New Book: Modern Money Theory: a primer on macroeconomics for sovereign monetary systems, Palgrave Macmillan http://www.palgrave.com/page/detail/modern-money-theory-l-randall-wray/?isb=9781137539908 
Please make note of my new email address as I will be transitioning all email to:

From: AFEEMAIL Discussion List <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Hake, Eric R <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 12:16 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [AFEEMAIL] AEA attack on the ASSA sessions of AFEE, other heterodox associations
Hi Michael,

Just my 2 cents, but I believe maintaining this affiliation of the annual ASSA conference is still useful for AFEE. It is built into our by-laws, and it is very beneficial to participate in the conference because of the job market and our members who have the opportunity to hire other (hopefully heterodox, institutionalist, fellow colleague) economists.

I think one benefit of getting the details of how the ASSA will be allocating sessions is that we can now plan a practical response that is beneficial to our organization, and I assume that other organizations will be doing the same thing.

I remember at one of my many teaching engagements the Provost established a new set of rules for the allocation of summer teaching contracts in an attempt to cut costs of summer program delivery.  It was a very detailed formula. We reviewed it at our department meeting and in about 40 minutes we had cracked it, and figured out a way to increase everyone's summer pay by altering the allocation of marginal classes among junior and senior faculty.  It was an impressive display of the dark arts so common in economics. 

Because I think institutionalist and heterodox economists are even more critically minded I think we can do an even better job, crafting an effective practical response to the current decision.

Of course, I would prefer if such a situation didn't exist, that graduate programs in economics embraced open and critical inquiry, and that institutionalist and heterodox traditions thrived on every campus and as effective generators of policy alternatives to the chaos and dismay I see on display in America and elsewhere.  So much for a major collapse of macroeconomic and monetary theory in 2008 to alter this cultural trajectory.  Or for any profound methodological turn more generally speaking. 

Anyway, as I said, just my opinion. I believe there are some very good things going on with the expansion of AFEE sessions at other conferences and other ways to expand our message beyond the number of sessions allocated by ASSA.


Eric Hake

On 12/17/2018 2:09 AM, Michael Keaney wrote:



What would be the financial implications for this entire ASSA enterprise if the affected heterodox associations were to withdraw en masse?


To what extent is it necessary or even desirable that heterodox associations should have to tolerate this abuse of monopoly power?


Is there a way of heterodox associations getting out from under the AEA by claiming a separate (e.g. political economy) space under the ASSA umbrella?


My apologies for asking what may be construed as dumb questions.




From: AFEEMAIL Discussion List <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Wolfram Elsner
Sent: lauantai 15. joulukuuta 2018 15.22
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: AW: [AFEEMAIL] AEA attack on the ASSA sessions of AFEE, other heterodox associations



The formula that the AEA will apply now appears extraordinarily complex. I think it would be worthwhile to have a mathematical heterodox economist go through it in every detail and check the implications (with some computer simulation of its range, at best). My suspicion would be that some clever AEA mathematical economists designed it to install another cumulative mechanism in favor of the big associations


Wolfram Elsner.



Von: AFEEMAIL Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] Im Auftrag von Geoff Schneider
Gesendet: Freitag, 14. Dezember 2018 20:32
An: [log in to unmask]
Betreff: [AFEEMAIL] AEA attack on the ASSA sessions of AFEE, other heterodox associations


Dear AFEEfolks,


I want to make you aware of a new AEA attack on heterodox economics association sessions at the ASSA conference. As many of you know, the AEA cut AFEE sessions (and those of other heterodox associations) significantly about a decade ago. They are now threatening a new round of cuts.


Last month, the heterodox associations received a letter notifying us of a new rule that will be used to reduce sessions. Any association with a low median attendance (below 13) at their sessions will face session cuts of up to 20%. The AEA plans to use a 4 year average of the medians for the association so that an association is not impacted by one bad year. 


The AEA takes attendance near the beginning and towards the end of each session. They reduce the audience count by one for each presenter (paper, discussant, and chairperson) listed on the program.


There are some important implications for AFEE members. 

(1) Attend the conference if you can. 

(2) If you do attend, please go to every session possible and stay from the beginning to the end. 

(3) If you are on the program at the conference and you cannot attend, inform the program chair immediately so your name can be removed from the program. That way you will not detract from the session numbers. 


I also encourage all ICAPE conference attendees to stay around for the ASSA meetings and to attend as many sessions as possible. 




Geoff Schneider


Geoff Schneider
Professor of Economics, Bucknell University
Office: 128 Academic West
Address: 1 Dent Drive, Lewisburg, PA 17837
Email: [log in to unmask]
Office Phone: 570-577-1666


Eric R. Hake

Interim Dean, Ketner School of Business
Elias B. Saleeby Professor of Business
Secretary-Treasurer, Association For Evolutionary Economics www.afee.net
Faculty Advisor, SMIF

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