The annual meeting of the American Economics Association takes place in San Francisco during January 3-5, 2016. Its timing is fortuitous as it precedes the next Republican presidential primary debate on January 14, 2016.
AEA membership numbers about 18,000. As many as half may descend on San Francisco to discuss the latest research in the profession. Eleven time slots are scheduled, each with as many as 50 different panels. Each panel will host several paper givers and discussants, which adds up to somewhere between 3,500 to 5,000 economists talking on some aspect of economics.
Add in dozens of receptions, hours spent at meals, or more likely in the bars, the total number of hours discussing and debating economic issues and ideas will be in the neighborhood of 1,500 or more (60 24-hour days, or 120 12-hour days, or 180 8-hour days). Obviously no presidential candidate can spend anywhere near that amount of time discussing economic policy options.
Candidates would each have to send 50 staffers to listen to and distill the content of each panel to determine if there were any good ideas that could be productively incorporated into their campaigns and if any of the participants might serve as official advisers.
At this stage in the campaigns, seven Republicans remain top tier candidates--Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Carson, Christie, Bush, and Kasich--based on the Fox Business News Network criteria for participating in the prime time portion of the January 14, 2016, debate in North Charleston, South Carolina. Only two Democrats--Clinton and Sanders--have any prospect of winning a Democrat caucus or primary.
So, could some enterprising blogger, journalist, or AEA participant help out by identifying and summarizing any of the new research findings that would constitute a valuable addition to the national debate on economic policy.