Live Coverage: Canadian Economics Association Conference

Shaaz Nasir

With around 1500 members across the country and from abroad, the Canadian Economics Association (CEA) is the organization of academic economists in Canada.

The Association has for its object the advancement of economic knowledge through the encouragement of study and research, the issuing of publications, and the furtherance of free and informed discussion of economic questions. The Association as such will not assume a partisan position upon any question of practical politics nor commit its members to any position thereupon.

MTG is proud to have the very talented Marie-Hélène Brière who will be covering the CEA Conference

First day of the CEA conference

There was a sense of anticlimax for the volunteers of the CEA conference today as the event began with the opening of the registration tables.  Having prepared over a thousand registration packages at the beginning of the week, the volunteers had expected to be swamped by arriving economists.  It was not to be.  Between 4:00 and 6:00 PM, the number of nametags in the registration boxes had barely dwindled, and while the inflow of arriving attendees was steady, it was slim.  This was a case of too many idle hands and too few tasks, as volunteers stepped over each other in an attempt to find each arrival’s nametag and hand them a kit.


Conversations were pleasant, if occasionally interspersed with unfortunate awkward silences, and overall, everything flowed and rolled like the gears of a well-oiled simple linear regression.  Volunteers should likely consider themselves lucky to have escaped with only a mild case of ennui and merry meetings, as the next day promises to deliver the excitement of too many tasks and too few hands.  The will and spirit of these volunteers should not, however, be underestimated.  These young economists in the making will be eager and energetic in their duties for at least one more day, until the tedium of the duties duly sets in.


Occasional star sightings may at the very least break the impending monotony of minor problems like missing programs, lost econometricians, and dysfunctional projectors.  One volunteer found herself shakily handing a nametag to none other than R—B—, whose work she had cited on multiple occasions in term papers.  Star struck…  And the haphazard encounters of UofO professors may also help these hubbub-starved students get through the hours.  The entertainment of Dr. Gray wondering how on Earth his nametag was handed to him before he had introduced himself, unwilling to accept his nigh-celebrity status in the eyes of the student body, or even the occasional pleasant encounter and small talk with that ECO3163 prof, and the thrill of tripping on one’s shoes in front of that econometrics professor, all these events will be truly rewarding experiences for our volunteers, who will relish the attention such stories will get them at the bar on Sunday night.


In all seriousness though, I appear to mourn these students’ fate but let us not forget that they are here by choice.  If they had truly been in search of intense situations requiring rapid thinking and problem solving, or the opportunity to truly make a difference in someone’s life, or even just to be in a pressured, fast-paced environment, they would not be volunteering at the CEA conference, they’d be working for WestJet or at a Rogers’ call centre as one of those real humans.  No.  These are economics students, and the kick of getting to sit in the same room with the guy responsible for the unreadable fourth chapter of that development economics textbook is the real reward.  Let’s face it; we economists are no daredevils, no emergency respondents, and no stunt doubles.  The only rush we seek is the one that comes when we return to our Stata program that we let run overnight and no error message appears in the results window.

BY: Marie-Hélène Brière