Message from MEA President McGrattan

I want to welcome everyone to the 82nd meeting of the Midwest Economic Association (MEA). I have enjoyed working with the other officers of the MEA to put together what I expect will be a high quality scientific conference.  There will be 517 presentations and special sessions organized by the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (AERE), the Committee for the Status of Women in the Economics Profession (CSWEP), the Society of Labor Economists (SOLE), and the Federal Reserve Economic Database (FRED).  Presenters hail from all over the United States as well as Canada, Mexico, China, Egypt, Korea, Singapore, Nepal, Ghana, Japan, and Turkey.  In addition to distinguished faculty, we have papers from Ph.D. students and several special undergraduate sessions.

The C. Woody Thompson Lecture will be given this year by Professor Sergio Rebelo, the Tokai Bank Chair in International Finance at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. Sergio is a fellow of the Econometric Society, a member of both the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Center for Economic Policy Research and has served as a consultant to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Federal Reserve.  For his lecture, he will present work on “Lags, Costs, and Shocks: An Equilibrium Model of the Oil Industry.” I am thrilled that Sergio has agreed to give this lecture. He is both a top scholar in macroeconomics and international economics and an award-winning teacher.  The second plenary session will be the presidential address.  I will talk about ongoing work with my colleague Anmol Bhandari entitled “Sweat Equity in US Private Business.”  The paper develops a theory of time-use of business owners to build up their client lists, customer bases, and other intangible assets, and then uses it to reassess the impact of tax policy changes.

The Midwest Economics Association is deeply grateful to several host institutions: the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the Heller-Hurwicz Economics Institute at the University of Minnesota. The generous financial support of these organizations helps with the MEA’s mission to advance economic knowledge through the annual forum.

I personally want to thank the other officers of the MEA for all of their help in organizing the conference and electing new officers, specifically, Abigail Wozniak from the University of Notre Dame, first vice president; Jenny Bourne from Carleton College, second vice president; and Tom Holmes from the University of Minnesota, past president.  I especially want to thank the team at Grinnell College: Keith Brouhle, MEA secretary-treasurer; Jeanette Copeman, managing secretary; and Angela Winburn, administrative assistant.  A special thanks goes to Jeanette Copeman who has been with the MEA for 24 years and will be retiring this year. The growth and successes of the organization are due in large part to Jeanette’s outstanding service over these years. With board members serving short terms and cycling through every one to three years, the memory of the organization lies with Jeanette.  She informs and helps board members with their annual tasks that keep the organization moving forward; she handles the long term logistical issues associated with planning a conference for 500+ people; and she deals with the numerous issues, large and small, that arise on a near daily basis in running the organization.  She handles this work with a cheerful attitude and a high degree of competence, always advancing the mission of the organization.  Quite simply, the MEA would not be the organization it is today without Jeanette.  We are sorry to see her go but wish her the best in retirement.

At the conclusion of my presidential address, the MEA will hold its annual business meeting.  At that time, I will turn over the job of president to Kerwin Charles, the Edwin A. and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. Kerwin is already actively planning a great meeting for 2019.

Ellen McGrattan, Professor of Economics and Director of the Heller-Hurwicz Economics Institute at the University of Minnesota