AEA Continuing Education Program

Webcasts from the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Continuing Education Sessions are available.

Continuing Education Program

The AEA’s Continuing Education Program is held immediately after the Annual Meeting in January. The program aims to help mid-career economists and others maintain the value of their human capital. It is tailored primarily to faculty at liberal arts colleges and teaching-oriented state universities that may have fewer research opportunities than colleagues at universities with PhD programs. The lecturers are leading scholars who also are excellent expositors. The focus is on content to help improve teaching and research.

The three topics for January 2016 in San Francisco were The Economics of Crime (John J. Donohue, Stanford University, and Jens Ludwig, University of Chicago), Field Experiments (Dean Karlan, Yale University and John A. List, University of Chicago) and Microeconomics of Life Course Inequality (Steven Durlauf, University of Wisconsin-Madison and James J. Heckman, University of Chicago).

Each Program was videotaped and is available to AEA members on the web. Video and other information from the 2009-2016 Continuing Education programs are available on the Association’s website. Click here for access.

2016 Continuing Education Program Lecturers

The Economics of Crime

John J. Donohue IIIJohn J. Donohue III is the C. Wendell and Edith M. Carlsmith Professor of Law at the Stanford Law School. He is one of the leading empirical researchers on the economics of crime over the past 25 years, whose work includes studies of the death penalty, drug policy, gun control, and the effects of abortion legalization on crime. He is the former editor of the American Law and Economics Review, president of the American Law and Economics Association and an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He earned his PhD in economics at Yale and his JD from Harvard Law School.

Jens LudwigJens Ludwig is the McCormick Foundation Professor of Social Service Administration, Law and Public Policy at the University of Chicago and co-director of the National Bureau of Economic Research’s working group on the economics of crime. He is also director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab, which partners with cities to carry out randomized trials to learn more about how to prevent crime and violence, and directs the new crime initiative launched by JPAL at MIT. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and received his PhD in economics at Duke.

Course Description | Syllabus
This course will provide an overview of core issues and recent advances in the economics of crime. The class will cover standard law and economics topics related to the criminal justice system, including incarceration, policing, the deterrent effects of the death penalty, gun policy, drug policy, and racial bias within the criminal justice system. The class will also consider the role that social factors play in affecting crime and violence, such as abortion policies, social programs and other social conditions such as education, poverty, family structure and even environmental factors (such as lead exposure). Lectures will also emphasize methodological advances in the economic study of crime, including issues related to identification, meta-analysis, randomized controlled trials, accounting for multiple comparisons for statistical inference, synthetic controls, behavioral economics and crime, and machine learning.

Field Experiments

Dean KarlanDean Karlan is a Professor of Economics at Yale University and President and Founder of Innovations for Poverty Action, a non-profit organization dedicated to discovering and promoting solutions to global poverty problems, and working to scale-up successful ideas through implementation and dissemination to policymakers, practitioners, investors and donors. Karlan is also on the Board of Directors of the M.I.T. Jameel Poverty Action Lab, and co-editor of the Journal of Development Economics. His research focuses on microeconomic issues of poverty, typically employing experimental methodologies to examine what works, what does not, and why in interventions in sustainable income generation for the ultra-poor, microfinance, health, behavioral economics and charitable giving. Karlan received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, was named an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow, and received a Distinguished Alumni Award for Public Service from the University of Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business. Karlan received a Ph.D. in Economics from M.I.T., an M.B.A. and an M.P.P. from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. in International Affairs from the University of Virginia.

John A. ListJohn A. List is the Homer J. Livingston Distinguished Service Professor and Chairman of the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago.  His has been at the forefront of environmental economics and has served as senior economist on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers for Environmental and Resource Economics. He is best known as one of the world’s leading experts on experimental economics. List has pioneered work using field experiments in which he developed scientific methods for testing economic theory directly in the market­place. He received the Kenneth Galbraith Award in 2010 and the 2008 Arrow Prize for Senior Economists for his research on behavioral economics in the field. List recently wrote international best seller “The Why Axis: Hidden Motives and the Undiscovered Economics of Everyday Life,” co-authored with Uri Gneezy.  In the fall of 2014, Professor List was presented with an Honorary Doctorate from Tilburg University for his contributions to the science of economics.

Course Description

This course will provide a broad overview of field experiments, with a primary focus on randomized control trials (RCTs) as used in the social sciences. The first part of the course will provide pragmatic step-by-step guide for conducting a field experiment, with a focus on the benefits and methods of randomization, choosing an appropriate sample frame and sample size, common threats and pitfalls to the validity of an experiment, and management aspects of conducting field experiments. The second part of the course will use specific examples to highlight important methodological points about attention to theory in designing RCTs and appropriate interpretation of results. Dean Karlan will focus on developing country studies that cover household finance, entrepreneurship, and social policy for the ultra-poor. John List will focus on domestic studies that cover education, tax compliance, charitable giving, discrimination, and the gender pay gap.

Microeconomics of Life Course Inequality

Steven DurlaufSteven N. Durlauf is Vilas Research Professor and Kenneth J. Arrow Professor at the University of Wisconsin. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the Econometric Society, and a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. With James Heckman and Robert Dugger, Durlauf is co-director of the Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Global Working Group. He previously served as General Editor of the New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics and is currently Editor of the Journal of Economic Literature. Durlauf has written on a range of theoretical and econometric issues involving the study of poverty, inequality and economic growth.  Much of his research has attempted to integrate sociological ideas into economic analysis, which in turn has shown how statistical mechanics methods can enhance theoretical modelling.

James J. HeckmanJames Heckman is Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, Director of the Center for the Economics of Human Development at the University of Chicago, and co-director (with Robert Dugger and Steven Durlauf) at the Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Global Working Group. He is a co-editor of the Journal of Political Economy. His recent work is on the economics of human development including work on social mobility, economic opportunity, and econometric foundations that bolster this research. He is the recipient of numerous professional awards including the 2000 Nobel Prize.

Course Description

  1. The contours of poverty, inequality of opportunity, and social mobility: The current state of knowledge
  2. The central role of skills and markets for skills
    1. The life cycle economics of skill formation; mechanisms and dynamics
    2. Challenges in measuring skills
    3. Normative implications: skills and capabilities
    4. Policies for boosting skills
  3. Group level determinants of inequalityeffects
    1. Social interactions
    2. Mechanisms: identity, information networks,
    3. Discrimination and stigma
    4. Segregation and social mobility
  4. Persistent inequality and intergenerational mobility: knowledge versus polemics

Webcasts Online! Webcasts of continuing education programs are available for members to view online. (AEA member user ID and password will be necessary to view)

2016 Continuing Education Program Webcasts

2015 Continuing Education Program Webcasts

2014 Continuing Education Program Webcasts

2013 Continuing Education Program Webcasts

2012 Continuing Education Program Webcasts

2011 Continuing Education Program Webcasts

2010 Continuing Education Programs

2009 Continuing Education Programs

Annual Meeting



ASSA 2016 Preliminary Program

2016 Daily Program of Events

ASSA 2016 App

2016 Annual Meeting Webcasts

Previous Annual Meeting Papers and Webcasts

Archive of Past Programs

AEA Continuing Ed. Program

AEA Continuing Ed. Webcasts

Other Information

The next meeting is scheduled for January 6-8, 2017 in Chicago, IL. The headquarters hotel is the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

Papers and Proceedings of the Annual Meeting is published in the May issue of the American Economic Review. The guidelines for Papers and Proceedings are available online.

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