First, on Thursday morning I'm off to Cambridge, Massachusetts to present preliminary findings from an analysis of trends in the supply of new engineers to the labor market from the mid-1980s today. The conference is organized by Richard Freeman and Hal Salzman (my co-author) at the NBER's Science and Engineering Workforce Project. We're coming up with some really interesting stuff. One of the things I like about our analysis is that we're taking a very close look at the reaction of engineering programs to the increased demand for engineers. Lot's of people have modeled the labor market for engineers, and lots of people have looked at graduation trends from engineering programs - but we look at the growth, development, and composition of these programs over time as well, which I think is somewhat more unique. I'm hopefully going to get to present these results at the Urban Institute later this year as well - the chapter will be finished in May 2011, and the book (NBER and U. Chicago Press) will come out some time in 2012 I believe.
The conference participants are also going to attend a seminar at one of Harvard's Science-Based Business Initiative Seminars. Not sure what the topic will be, but that looks interesting.
I'm thrilled to be a part of this, and I'm very excited to meet Richard Freeman - a very well known labor economist at Harvard. Here's a clip of Freeman speaking about his research:
And this is Richard Freeman's Jefferson lecture at Berkley in 2008. He emphasizes Jefferson's views on inequality:
One of the things I like a lot that comes out strongly in both of these talks (towards the end of both of these talks) is what Freeman calls "progressive federalism". It's largely the same point I've made on here on several occasions.
That conference is Thursday and Friday. I'll be back Saturday and studying for two days straight for my second shot at the GRE Monday morning. Shooting for an 800, of course - but we shall see. Something very much in the "safe zone" at least. I'll be pushing forward with applications after that. One of the things I'll be applying for is an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, which involves a much more detailed description of my proposed research - so I may be blogging more about that as I sketch it out.