ASA’s K-Street Condo Delenda Est

March 24, 2011 at 3:56 pm 5 comments

| Gabriel |

I just renewed my ASA membership, mostly so I could vote no on the progressive fee structure essentially monotonic fee increase above and beyond recent COLA increases. This is a matter of principle to me — I’m not presenting at ASA this year so (even over the long-run) it would have been cheaper for me to just let my membership lapse this year. In the short-run we need to resist this fee increase as well as counter-productive nickel-and-diming like charging departments $200 a month to place job listings (including multi-disciplinary positions) in the job bank.

Obviously though these revenues are being spent on something so in the long-run we need to pare back the ASA to a less Quixotic ambitious organization. Economists seem to be pretty happy to pay less than us and get more journals in the bargain. The most important step is to get the ASA out of downtown DC, home to some of the country’s most expensive commercial real estate and high cost-of-living for skilled labor. I hear there’s a vacancy in the Nashville office building where AEA is based.

See also Kieran, Jenn, Jeremy, and most of all The Disgruntled Sociologist.

On a tangent, every time I renew my membership it agitates me that I have to check-off my ascent to the ASA Code of Ethics. It strikes me as a violation of academic freedom and intellectual honesty that my association considers it unethical to have unpleasant things to say about ascriptive groups. (Or are we allowed to say unpleasant things so long as we don’t, as is otherwise encouraged, draw policy conclusions from them?) As someone who mostly studies organizations rather than individuals this doesn’t directly affect me and I certainly hope that social reality conforms to the high egalitarian standards of Part D of the Code of Ethics, but I think we should allow for the theoretical possibility that a researcher acting in good faith could have research findings that paint some ascriptive group or other in a negative light.

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Misc Links asa dues petition: call for participation

5 Comments

  • 1. Jay Livingston  |  March 24, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Hmm — Nashville isn’t all that far from Carthage.

  • 2. Kyle Siler  |  March 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Agreed. I hope the energy and attention of sociologists will go beyond merely resisting the questionable fees increase, and also work towards implementing the sorts of reforms you listed.

  • 3. drschweitzer  |  March 25, 2011 at 2:39 am

    I have to say, I am dead shocked at the number of journals I get with my AEA membership. There must be a lot of economists running around the world.

  • 4. John Quiggin  |  April 12, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Do they really have their office in downtown DC? I can see some point in that for National Academies and similar, but Nashville does fine for the AEA.

    Australia has a much smaller population of course, but there are fixed costs in running a professional association, and our charges are much lower. We do quite well without any physical offices – our paid admin staff work from home, and everything is done virtually.


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