What makes a good conference? Analysing the preferences of labour economists
Conferences are an important element in the work of researchers, requiring substantial investments in fees, travel expenses and the time spent by the participants. The aim of this paper is to identify the preferences of participants with respect to conference characteristics. Based on a sample of European labour economists, preferences are measured using the vignette approach where participants are asked to choose between hypothetical European Association of Labour Economists (EALE) conferences. We find that the keynote speakers are the most important element in the preference for a conference, followed by the location of the conference. There is substantial heterogeneity in the taste of labour economists especially with respect to location, though the link between preference parameters and measured characteristics like gender, age and seniority is limited. Factor analysis suggests that the variety in preferences can be best described by a latent variable that reflects the weights people put on content versus fun.
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