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Session Information & Instructions

92nd Annual Conference | June 25-29, 2017 | San Diego, California

Program participants, please review the information in the preliminary program and directory carefully. Email corrections and/or changes to If you are not attending the conference, please advise your session chair or session organizer and our office immediately.

If you have not pre-registered, please do so immediately -- register online. Volunteer paper presenters paid a participation fee, at the time of abstract submission, that included conference registration.  

Audio-Visual Equipment

LCD projectors and screens will be provided in each meeting room. LAPTOP COMPUTERS WILL NOT BE PROVIDED. If you require additional equipment, please e-mail for rental information and prices. All arrangements and charges for additional equipment are your responsibility.

Session Structure & Procedures

In sessions without an organizer listed, discussants are listed alphabetically -- the preliminary paper/discussant assignments are the responsibility of the session chair, but assignments may be changed by participants’ mutual agreement. If the chair of your session has not made the appropriate assignments by June 1, please contact our office immediately.

All session participants are expected to be familiar with all the papers in the session and prepared to contribute to the discussion.

By June 1, paper presenters must send their paper to all session participants. If you do not receive papers by this date, contact your session chair immediately. Discussants have no obligation to discuss a late paper.

Session time allocations (based on four papers): 105 minutes total. 15 minutes per paper presentation plus 8 minutes for the paper’s primary discussant, then 3 minutes total for all other participants’ discussion. The session chair may alter time allocations if appropriate.

Session Chairs

Your involvement in the weeks and months prior to the conference is essential to the session’s success.

Before the conference:  Facilitate communication amongst session participants. By May 15, oversee the one-to-one assignment of discussants to papers. All paper presenters are expected to discuss a paper in his/her own session.

Follow up with your session participants to ensure papers are distributed to everyone in your session by June 1. As mentioned above, discus­sants have no obligation to discuss a late paper.

During the conference:  Arrive in your assigned meeting room a few minutes early to check on the LCD projector. Watch the clock and ensure that presenters and discussants stay within their allotted timeframes.

After the session: Complete the chair questionnaire you will receive with your registration packet. Your feedback helps us improve future conferences.

Paper Presenters

Before the conference: By May 15, your session chair should have assigned a discussant to your paper. By June 1, send your paper to each participant in the session. Limit your paper to 15 to 25 double-spaced pages in order to not overburden your discussant and fellow participants. Bring at least five copies of your paper to distribute to session attendees.

During your session: Please stay within the allotted time (usually 15 minutes). Summarize the paper’s objective, methods, main points, and conclusions. Do not read your paper.

Tips on being an effective presenter from former EI Editor Bill Neilson:

Do not go long. Going long means less time for feedback. It is much better to present only a small portion of your paper well than to go long and try to present the entire thing. Also, audience members punish presenters who go long by withdrawing their attention, and you do not want this. So, if anything, make your presentation shorter than 15 minutes and restrict attention to only things people absolutely have to know. The introduction should be short, and the literature review shorter, perhaps non-existent.



Before the conference: To ensure that everyone receives valuable feedback, all paper presenters are expected to discuss at least one paper. If you cannot meet your commitment, please locate a substitute and contact both WEAI and the session chair immediately.

During your session: Be prepared to offer comments and criticism. Plan your remarks to stay within the allotted time (usually 8 minutes). In the chair’s absence, the first discussant listed is assigned as an alternate chair. Each paper has a primary discussant, but everyone is urged to contribute to the discussion of all papers.

Tips on being an effective discussant from former EI Editor Bill Neilson:

  • First, summarize the paper very quickly. This does two things: (1) it helps audience members who were not paying attention catch up with what you are about to say.  (2) it shows the author what you got out of the paper. Most referee reports begin with summaries of the paper, and these are valuable to the author because they show what points were most salient. 

  • Second, talk about how you would have approached the problem.  This is great for sessions where participants all come from different specializations and so the different approaches would be interesting to hear.

  • Third, talk about strengths of the author’s approach. It is always nice for the author to hear something positive, but it is also good for the audience to learn what was especially good about the paper they just heard.

  • Fourth, talk about any strategies for improvement you can think of.

  • The key thing to remember in discussing a paper is that you are talking to the audience, not the author. The author is only one member of the audience, but you want to impress everyone. Serving as a discussant is a marketing opportunity for you, and you should use it to show any possible recruiter in the audience what a fantastic colleague you would be. So, your discussion should be a self-contained talk that everyone in the audience will understand, not just the author.


Peer and Chair Evaluation

WEAI utilizes online surveys for session and participant evaluation. Session chairs will receive an email to complete their session chair questionnaire, and all program participants will receive a post-conference survey at which time they may share their experiences with their sessions and with the conference as a whole.


Conference Dates to Remember

  • May 15: Early-Bird Registration ends.
  • May 15: Deadline for session chairs to make paper-discussant assignments.
  • June 1: Last day to reserve luncheon ticket.
  • June 1: Deadline for papers to reach fellow session participants.
  • June 25 to 29: Conference in San Diego.
  • December 31:  Deadline for WEAI members to submit revised conference papers to Economic Inquiry or Contemporary Economic Policy for possible publication.