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The American Economic Association (AEA) is a learned society in the field of economics, headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. It publishes one of the most prestigious academic journals in economics: the American Economic Review.[3][4] The AEA was established in 1885 in Saratoga, New York[5] by younger progressive economists trained in the German historical school, including Richard T. Ely, Edwin Robert Anderson Seligman and Katharine Coman, the only woman co-founder;[6]:989 since 1900 it has been under the control of academics.[7][8]

The purposes of the Association are: 1) The encouragement of economic research, especially the historical and statistical study of the actual conditions of industrial life; 2) The issue of publications on economic subjects; 3) The encouragement of perfect freedom of economic discussion. The Association as such will take no partisan attitude, nor will it commit its members to any position on practical economic questions.

Once composed primarily of college and university teachers of economics, the Association now attracts an increasing number of members from business and professional groups. Today the membership is about 23,000, over half of whom are academics. About 15% are employed in business and industry, and the remainder largely by federal, state, and local government or other not-for-profit organizations.

Activities

For many years, the AEA published three economics journals: the American Economic Review, the Journal of Economic Literature, and the Journal of Economic Perspectives (which is available online for free). In 2009, it began to publish four new area-specific journals, collectively called the American Economic Journal (AEJ). The four areas covered by AEJ are applied economics, economic policy, macroeconomics, and microeconomics. The AEA recognizes annually a Best Paper Award for papers published in each of the four.[9]

The AEA also publishes AEA Papers and Proceedings each May, featuring papers presented at the AEA meetings in January. Until 2017, these papers were published in the May issue of the American Economic Review.[10]

The AEA also produces EconLit, the AEA's electronic bibliography. It is a comprehensive index to peer-reviewed journal articles, books, book reviews, collective volume articles, working papers, and dissertations. Compiled and abstracted in a searchable format, EconLit indexes 125 years of economic literature from around the world. It follows the JEL classification codes of the Journal of Economic Literature.

The AEA sponsors RFE: Resources for Economists on the Internet, an online source available to the general public without subscription. It catalogs and annotates 2,000+ internet sites under some 97 sections and subsubsections.[11] RFE is currently updated on a monthly basis.

The AEA resource, Job Openings for Economists (JOE) originated in October 1974, and lists job openings for economists. It is published electronically monthly (except January and July).

AEA, in conjunction with over 50 associations in related disciplines, holds a three-day annual meeting to present papers on general economic subjects. This meeting features about 500 scholarly sessions. A placement service to assist employers and job applicants begins a day prior to the meetings. A continuing education program is held immediately after the annual meeting. Topics vary from year to year.

Each year, the AEA recognizes the lifetime research contributions of four economists by electing them Distinguished Fellows. The Association also awards annually the John Bates Clark Medal for outstanding research accomplishments in economics to a scholar under the age of 40; it is often referred to as the "Baby Nobel," as many of its recipients go on to become Nobel Laureates.[12]

Association presidents

As of 2020, the president of the association is Janet Yellen, and the president-elect is David Card.[13]

Past presidents of the association include:[14]