At this year’s pre-doctoral research conference, young researchers present new work to peers

July 11, 2023

On June 21, 2023, a group of eight pre-doctoral research assistants from four units within the Economics Department at Princeton University had the opportunity to present their own research to a group of their peers. The annual conference is sponsored by the Industrial Relations Section, the Griswold Center for Economic Policy Studies, and the Julis-Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy and Finance.

In addition to their work supporting faculty research, pre-doctoral economics research staff at Princeton engage in a range of programming and activities that encourage the development of their own research agendas. The year culminates with this event. This year’s conference was  organized by Ethan Bergmann and Monica Essig Aberg

“We sought to create an environment where pre-docs could receive feedback on their work, learn from peers in other units, and gain valuable practice presenting research in a low-pressure setting,” Bergmann and Essig Aberg said.

The presentations covered topics from health and labor economics to economic history and inequality. The wide-spanning topics showcased the breadth of research conducted by the pre-doctoral cohort and the faculty they support. “I learned a lot from topics in different countries, from minimum wages in the UK to the effects of Jim Crow laws in the U.S,” said Bruno Jimenez

Paola Villa Paro added, “It was interesting to see how each of us was particularly influenced by our Principal Investigators or section in order to choose our research projects.” While pre-docs at Princeton are generally located within specific units, the annual conferences provides the opportunity for pre-docs to learn about different disciplines of economics beyond their departmental placement.

Paola went on to highlight that presenters and attendees were active participants in the conference. “One of the most useful parts during the conference was receiving precise feedback from other pre-docs; this is especially true because all of us are well trained to evaluate details and identify important questions in early stages of a research project.” 

Sérgio André Cristovão Nascimento agreed that the conference allowed him  to “learn about my colleagues' research, discuss potential problems and how to expand [our] projects.”  

Bruno added, ”This is very difficult to do elsewhere as most conferences are designed to attract more senior researchers. I believe that the feedback I received will greatly strengthen a future version of [my] paper.”

Said Paola, “This conference makes visible that predocs are not just learning passively but also creating and exploring their own ideas.”