The NBER Summer Institute, even when virtual, is widely regarded as one of the most important annual meetings of the economics research community. It brings together many of the leading researchers in macroeconomics, labor markets, public finance, international trade, financial economics, and many other fields to discuss the latest economic research. One of the most important features of the in-person Summer Institute is the opportunity for informal interactions between researchers, during conference breaks and at dinner. In an attempt to replace as much of this interaction as possible, for 2021 all meetings will include access to a digital “coffee break” platform that makes it possible for researchers to interact outside the structured meeting times. Organizers will be encouraged to plan for breaks when researchers are not listening to prepared presentations and can meet for impromptu conversation. One of the reasons researchers are so positive about the NBER Summer Institute is that it does not intermix research presentations with administrative functions such as the interviewing and hiring of new assistant professors, as the annual American Economic Association meeting does. The Summer Institute’s exclusive focus on research presentations provides an extraordinary opportunity for newly-minted PhDs as well as established scholars to debate new ideas and develop strategy for further work.
Supported by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation grant #20211142
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