Technology, academic debate and the inner circle

Richard Baldwin 29 August 2012



In the not-too-distant past, the inner circle of economists was difficult to break into if you weren’t ‘born’ into to it from graduate school. The problems was that journals took (and still take) years to publish work, so staying up on the latest and greatest meant going to conferences and hearing the inner-circle scholars talk about their ongoing work. Reading the inner-circle discussion papers was good, but even these were delayed. Worse yet, convincing anyone that you were capable of producing inner-circle research was nigh-on impossible. No one would read your research unless you presented it in person, and few outside the charmed circle got such invites. The other way was to put your work in one of the big discussion paper series organisations (NBER and CEPR) but that was even more exclusive.

Fortunately, technology is changing this.

  • The most obvious is the way the web and Google allow people to find your research even when it is not in the NBER or CEPR series;
  • Next week, we’ll see a new step in the direction of openness – the webcasting of three very interesting events, including a Nobel Symposium. 

These events – held on 3-8 September – will gather a spectacular array of inner-circle economists in Stockholm to talk about three of today’s toughest economic questions:

The list of speakers, discussants and panellists is mind-boggling, and includes: Acemoglu, Aghion, Banerjee, Barro, Burgess, Duflo, Goldin, Helpman, Karlan, Kremer, Krusell, Lucas, Mullainathan, Persson, Romer, Shleifer, Stokey, Tabellini, Van Reenen, and Vives.

This is definitely the sort of inner-circle gathering you would not have been invited to. Come to think of it, you haven’t been, but despite that you can watch and even contribute questions. This is a great opportunity for young scholars to get ideas and insights. Just tune into (it’ll be working as soon as the conference starts).

Vox will follow up with an ad hoc series of columns written by the speakers and some audio interviews (Vox Talks).



Topics:  Frontiers of economic research

Tags:  research dissemination, Nobel Symposia, inner-circle economists

Professor of International Economics at The Graduate Institute, Geneva; Founder & Editor-in-Chief of; exPresident of CEPR

CEPR Policy Research