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Five things that can help you get your conference submission accepted

Summary:
Over the past few months, I've been putting together the program for the upcoming Canadian Economics Association meetings: http://economics.ca/2017/en/.  It's a reasonable sized conference - this year we had almost 900 submissions - and quite a few papers were rejected. Yet often papers were not accepted for conference program simply because the author made an easily avoidable mistake when submitting the paper. Here is a list of simple things that anyone can do to increase the chances of their conference submission being accepted. Submit on time, and include all necessary information Invest some time in writing a compelling, informative abstract. It should clearly state the research question, the methods used to answer the question, the results (if any) obtained, and explain why

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Over the past few months, I've been putting together the program for the upcoming Canadian Economics Association meetings: http://economics.ca/2017/en/.  It's a reasonable sized conference - this year we had almost 900 submissions - and quite a few papers were rejected.

Yet often papers were not accepted for conference program simply because the author made an easily avoidable mistake when submitting the paper. Here is a list of simple things that anyone can do to increase the chances of their conference submission being accepted.

  1. Submit on time, and include all necessary information
  2. Invest some time in writing a compelling, informative abstract. It should clearly state the research question, the methods used to answer the question, the results (if any) obtained, and explain why the answer to the research question matters.
  3. Choose the right Journal of Economic Literature (JEL) codes or keywords to describe your paper. In larger conferences, the papers are typically divided by field or sub-field, and parcelled out to sub-committees. It is vitally important to make sure that your paper goes to the right sub-committee. For example, imagine a paper that takes a standard econometric technique and uses it to identify the causal effects of, say, parental leave on divorce rates. If the paper goes to the econometrics subcommittee, they will likely say "nothing new here." If it goes to a labour or economics of the family subcommitte, they may well say "yes, let's put it on the program."
  4. Curate your on-line image. When I am hesitating between accepting and rejecting a paper, I typically google the author and see what comes up. Hence it is vitally important to create a google scholar profile, especially if you have a fairly common name. It is also a good idea to have a personal website, with an up-to-date c.v. on it.
  5. Organize a session, and make your paper a part of it. Pre-organized sessions are attractive to conference organizers, because they involve very little work. As long as there is at least one good paper in the session, it is tempting to accept the entire thing.

This may all seem fairly obvious. But a remarkable number of papers fail to get accepted because the submitter did not do one of these five things.

 

Frances Woolley
I am a Professor of Economics at Carleton University, where I have taught since 1990. My research centres on families and public policy. My most-cited work is on modelling family-decision making, measuring inequality within the household, feminist economics, and tax-benefit policy towards families. I hold a BA from Simon Fraser University, an MA from Queen’s, and completed my doctorate at the London School of Economics, under the supervision of Tony Atkinson.

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