American Economic Association – Definition

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American Economics Association (AEA) Definition

The American Economics Association is a non-profit organization located in Nashville, Tennessee which is made up of university professors in the field of Economics. Since starting in 1885 they now consist of over 20,000 members.

A Little More on What is the American Economics Association

Annually the AEA features a publication called the ‘American Economic Review’ which is considered to be one of the most prestigious academic journals in the country. The AEA was originally founded by junior economists who underwent training in a German historical school. Since the year 1900 it has since been under the control of academics.

The main objectives of the American Economics Association are the following: 1.) to stimulate economic research, specifically in the areas of statistical and historical studies of conditions in the industrial sector. 2.) To review the issues that surround economic publications. 3.)To stimulate the freedom of economic discussion. The Association does not believe in taking a partisan attitude or will it refer any members to take the position of such practical economic questions and status.

While the association was once formed consistently of university and college professors, it now has a growing membership of both professional and commercial groups, with more than half still comprised of academics. Around 15% is used within industry and business while the rest are used majorly state, federal and municipal nonprofit organizations.

The AEA first begin publication in the year 1886 with it’s self named Publications of the American Economic Association. Within this first publication there was reference to the foundation and the platform of the AEA. The first article also contained information that the doctrine of Capitalism of the non-intervention policy which they stated is insecure in unsound morals and politics.

For a number of years, the AEA only published three economic journals titled:

  • The Journal of Economic Perspectives (this publication is available for free online)
  • The American Economic Review and
  • The Journal of Economic Literature

In the year 2009, the association began to publish four new journals which were specific to the area, these were called collectively the American Economic Journal or AEJ. The four different areas which were covered in these journals are:

  • Economic policy
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics and
  • Applied economics

The AEA also is responsible for the production of EconLit, an electronic bibliography of the SAA. It features a completed index of all journal articles which are passed by book reviews, peer reviews, books, work papers, dissertations and collective volume articles. They are all abstracted and edited into a more easily searchable format. The EconLit offers an index of over 125 years of economic literature from all over the world. To look through this index just follow all the codes of the JEL classification.

The AEA is also a sponsor of the RFE, or Resources for Internet Economists. The RFE is an online resource which is available to the public without a subscription. There are over 2,000 internet pages cataloged and annotated according to 97 different sections and sub divisions. This resource is then updated once a month.  Together with more than 50 different associations, the AEA holds a meeting a yearly meeting which consists of three days every winter to present various works on economic subjects. Around 500 different student sessions are also held each year. Immediately after this yearly meeting a continuing education program is held. The topics of this meeting and program change from year to year. Other future meetings are then held and  scheduled in the first week of January. The call for registration is listed on the homepage of the Association. The submission deadline is April 1st of the previous year. Each year the AEA will recognize the lifetime contribution of four different economists and choosing them for the honor of a “Distinguished Fellow”. The AEA also awards the John Bates Clark Medal to a minor scholar of 40 who is then referred to as the “Nobel Baby”. These are not the only awards offered by the AEA, they also recognize an award known as “the Best Paper Award” annually.

References for the American Economics Association

Academic Research on American Economics Association

The American Economic Association and the economics profession, Coats, A. W. (1985). The American Economic Association and the economics profession. Journal of Economic Literature, 23(4), 1697-1727. This literature discusses an inside look into the economics profession and reviews various newly updated information.

Is There a Free‐Market Economist in the House? The Policy Views of American Economic Association Members, Klein, D. B., & Stern, C. (2007). In this document we’ll discuss the policy views of the AEA members. People often imply or assume that free market economists make up a large portion of all economists. AEA members were surveyed to find out their views on 18 different forms of government activism. What was discovered is that 8 percent of AEA members are supporters of a free market, while only 3 percent can be thought to be strong supporters. When the data was broken down by their voting party, Republican or Democrat, the average AEA member was found to be a republican who was a middle of the road thinker and not really a free market thinker. This document discusses different explanations and perspectives.

The policy views of American Economic Association members: The results of a new survey, Whaples, R. (2009). Econ Journal Watch, 6(3), 337. Within this document you will learn about the policy views of the members of the American Economic Association.

The First Two Decades of the American Economic Association, Coats, A. W. (1960). The American Economic Review, 50(4), 556-574. This article discusses the first two decades behind the scene of the American Economic Association. Learn what happens within the American Economic Association meetings. This document discusses the discussions within these meetings.

Consensus among economists: revisited, Fuller, D., & Geide-Stevenson, D. (2003). The authors of this publication examine the consensus among economists on various propositions. The results help to illustrate the different dynamics on the opinions in the profession of economists. The authors have found that there is a general consensus within the profession. There is however some varying degree between international, microeconomic and macroeconomics. The consensus is much stronger for those in free international trade and capital flows. The macroeconomic proposition exhibit a much lower consensus degree.

Power and the useful economist, Galbraith, J. K. (1973). American Economic Review, 63(1), 1-11. Galbraith, J.K reviews just how powerful and useful economists are in today’s society.

Diversity in economics: An analysis of journal quality perceptions, Axarloglou, K., & Theoharakis, V. (2003). This journal examines the diversity within economics. There is still a  debate on whether or not scientific diversity is either a virtue or disadvantage within the development of a discipline. The diversity amongst scientists plays an important role within their hiring and promoting decisions. In this article it is examined the diversity that is within economics. It is looked at to see how factors might explain the various different degrees in the journal quality perceptions in economics. These factors include their geographic origin, journal affiliation, school of thought, research orientation and field of specialization. These results will explain the many different debates in promotion committees and tenure.

How the economists got it wrong, Galbraith, J. K. (2000). The American Prospect, 11(7), 14. [Summarized Content] A review from Galbraith J.K of how economists may have been wrong.


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