SGE Conference Sessions at the ASSA in Atlanta, GA

Society of Government Economists Conference Sessions at the Allied Social Science Meetings (ASSA) in Atlanta, GA

January 4-6, 2019

Hilton Atlanta Hotel, Conference room 314 for all SGE sessions

255 Courtland Street NE, Atlanta, Georgia, 30303, USA

SGE has organized 7 sessions as part of the ASSA meetings. This is a handy reference to keep track of the times and topics.

SGE members and friends are invited to an


January 4, 2019

Conference Rm 314 Hilton Atlanta


Boxed lunches will be provided at no charge on a first-come first-serve basis.

Click here to see the program.

Mon 11/5 eve: Guzzetti, Timothy, and Grossman on “Light Rail Transit”

Light Rail Transit
Monday, November 5, 2018 5:45 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Rm 483 Ford House Office Building
2nd & D Streets, SW
Washington, DC 20515
Metro: Federal Center SW Station


Arthur Guzzetti, Vice President-Policy, American Public Transportation Association

Darren Timothy, Chief Economist, US Department of Transportation

Alice Grossman, Policy Analyst, Eno Center for Transportation

Light refreshments will be served at 5:45 pm, and the seminar begins at 6:00 pm. The seminar is free but please email Jack Ventura at for reservations. After panelists have made their presentations, time will be available for Q & A and discussion.

Light rail transit, a descendant as it were of trolley cars or streetcars going back to the 19th century, took the form it’s known as today in the 1970’s. The mode continues to be introduced and extended in many U.S. cities, and often has the advantage of speed, rights-of-way and greater capacity than buses but less expensive than subways. However, questions have arisen as to user demand and efficiency relative to, say, bus rapid transit in terms of cost and reducing urban traffic congestion.

Our panelists will offer their perspectives on these issues, based on work they or their organizations have done.

Art Guzzetti is a 39 year veteran of public transportation at the local, state and national levels. The American Public Transportation Association, where he now serves, is the trade group representing the public transportation industry in the United States. Among other things, he is responsible for APTA’s extensive policy research agenda, policy analysis and development, transportation information and statistics. Prior to coming to APTA in June 1997, Mr. Guzzetti had 16 years in management at two of the nation’s leading public transportation systems: New Jersey Transit, and Port Authority of Allegheny County, plus two years at the New Jersey Department of Transportation. In short, career focus has been on generating support for public transportation and the benefits it provides to communities and regions.

Mr. Guzzetti has a Political Science degree from Edinboro State University, and a Master of Public Administration Degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

Darren Timothy has served as the Chief Economist for the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) since January 2017. In this capacity, he leads the Department’s efforts to apply economic principles and methods in analyses of policies, programs, projects, and regulations produced by the Department and its operating administrations. Dr. Timothy’s prior experience has included positions in academia and consulting as well as other agencies within USDOT, including the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration.

Dr. Timothy holds a B.A. from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both in Economics

Alice Grossman, as a policy analyst at the Eno Center for Transportation, conducts research in various areas of multimodal transportation. Dr. Grossman has worked extensively on research relating to metropolitan transportation planning and performance measurement, electronic travel diary development, K-12 and higher education in transportation, active transportation safety, and pedestrian infrastructure asset management and accessibility.

Dr. Grossman completed her B.A. at Vassar College in Physics and Astronomy, and her Ph.D. at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Civil Engineering. Dr. Grossman was Eno’s 2017 Thomas J. O’Bryant fellow.

Thurs 10/25 Noon: Melanie Duncan, “Information Sharing: A Reduction in Terrorist Finance?” at 618 H Street NW

Speaker: Melanie Duncan, University of Phoenix

Melanie Duncan is a Doctoral Candidate with the University of Phoenix studying a Doctorate of Management in Information Systems Technology. Melanie has 18 years of Federal Government experience that includes work with U.S. Joint Forces Command, Commander Naval Air Pacific Fleet, and the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Desert Team. Her affiliations include the Center for Global Research and Information Technology through the School of Advanced Studies as well as a participant in The World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law Group on LinkedIn.

Abstract of talk:

Terrorists are continuing to adopt new strategies for funding terrorist activities. National security partners and the definition of what constitutes a national security partner for sharing information appears to have remained the same. While information sharing may have increased among national security partners, the macroeconomic aspect may have been overlooked. Preparedness levels may be affected by the organizational culture, multiplicity of information sharing amongst governmental organizations, and partners that include private financial sector companies, and terrorist finance regulation within the banking industry. In this talk, Melanie Duncan will discuss what innovations national security partnership may look like for government entities if such variables as lack of knowledge sharing, cooperation, and information sharing were introduced.

Hosted jointly with the NEC. Credit Card payment is non refundable but you may substitute someone in your place for attendance. Visit for registration information.

Thurs 6/28 Noon: Lucia Foster, “Business-Level Expectations and Uncertainty” at 618 H Street NW

Speaker: Lucia Foster, Chief of Center for Economic Studies, Chief Economist, Census Bureau

Abstract of talk:

The Census Bureau’s 2015 Management and Organizational Practices Survey collected innovative 5-bin data on own future outcomes and probabilities for shipments, employment, capital and materials expenditures at 35,000 manufacturing plants. About 85% of plants provide logically sensible responses to the 5-bin questions, suggesting that most managers can form and express (subjective) probability distributions. The other 15% of plants have lower productivity, employment, wages, managerial education, structured management scores, and multinational ownership. First and second moments of plant-level subjective probability distributions covary strongly with first and second moments, respectively, of historical outcomes, suggesting that our subjective expectations data are well founded. Finally, our plant-level subjective uncertainty measures correlate positively with realized stock-return volatility, option-implied volatility and analyst disagreement about future earnings for the plant’s parent firm and for the median publicly listed firm in the plant’s industry.

Hosted jointly with the NEC. Credit Card payment is non refundable but you may substitute someone in your place for attendance. Visit for registration information.

Wed 5/30 Evening: Michael Mandel, “The Surprising Economics of E-Commerce and Brick and Mortar Retail” at 2nd & D SW

Speaker: Michael Mandel, Chief Economic Strategist, Progressive Policy Institute

Light refreshments will be served at 5:45 pm, and the seminar begins at 6:00 pm. The seminar is free but please email Jack Ventura at for reservations.

Abstract of talk:

E-commerce sales are soaring. According to the Census Bureau, they are up 16.4% from the previous year, as against 4.5% for total retail sales. Surprisingly, however, the online shopping boom has been accompanied by the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs at e-commerce fulfillment centers around the country. Meanwhile, brick-and-mortar retail establishments, rather than cutting back, have been trying to raise the skill level of their employees to differentiate themselves from online.

This seminar will explore the economics of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail, focusing on employment, wages, and productivity. It will also deal with the importance of the automation of logistics. What does the continuing shift to e-commerce portend for consumer choice and prices and for the survival and employment of retail stores? Michael Mandel will address these questions.

Dr. Mandel was interviewed on the PBS News Hour on this subject this past year. Besides his position at Progressive Policy Institute, he holds an appointment as senior fellow at Wharton’s Mack Institute for Innovation Management at the University of Pennsylvania, and serves as president and founder of South Mountain Economics LLC, which provides expertise on emerging occupations and emerging industries.

ASSA Call for Papers – Deadline May 17, 2018

Society of Government Economists 2019 ASSA/SGE Sessions in Atlanta – January 4-6, 2019
Call for Papers – Deadline May 17, 2018

The Society of Government Economists’ mission is to support the professional development of government economists, and those who are interested in public policy economics, by providing them with research, publication, and professional communication opportunities. SGE will sponsor seven sessions during the 2019 ASSA meeting. These sessions will provide economists the opportunity to present their research, discuss it with their peers, and receive feedback as well as to meet other economists and learn about the latest topics in economics. This call for papers and sessions is open to all individuals; applicants need not be government economists.

Sessions will be designed to provide valuable contributions to existing knowledge and understanding, and to improve how economics is practiced. Contributions to SGE sessions are expected to measure, explain and/or analyze the nature and causes of economic phenomena, and, in turn, enhance public decision making.

All participants are required to register and pay for the conference. In addition, for each submission, at least one author on each paper must have an active SGE membership by the submission deadline. The submission will not be processed if this requirement is not met. If you are not currently a member, please go to the SGE website to pay the annual membership fee of $30.

Submissions can be made for complete sessions and individual papers. For individual papers that are accepted, the Society will organize sessions and invite discussants and chairs to those sessions. To propose an individual paper, include: (1) a brief sentence describing the paper, (2) the title of the paper and the names and contact information (including email addresses) and affiliations for each of the authors, (3) a brief abstract (of no more than 300 words) describing the paper, and (4) 2 JEL codes. Do NOT send a draft of the paper. To propose a complete session, include: (1) The title, organizer, and chair of the session, (2) all of the above-mentioned information required of individual-paper proposals for each of the papers in the session (for 4 papers), and (3) the names and contact information for all discussants and which papers they will discuss.

The due date to submit your complete session or individual paper abstract is May 17th, 2018 (Thursday).

To submit a session click here.

To submit an individual paper click here.


3/22 noon: James Broughel, “Regulatory Macroeconomics: A New Frontier” at 618 H St NW

James Broughel, Mercatus Center, GMU
“Regulatory Macroeconomics: A New Frontier”

James Broughel is a Research Fellow for the State and Local Policy Project at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an adjunct professor of law at the Antonin Scalia Law School. He specializes in the economic analysis of regulations, state and federal regulatory procedures, and economic growth.

Abstract of talk:

Fiscal and monetary policy are areas of national policy that traditionally are thought to have important macroeconomic significance. Much less attention, however, has been devoted to the macroeconomic implications of regulation. This has happened even while regulation levels have steadily risen in the US for decades. While it is possible that regulation has little macroeconomic effect, a lack of good measures of regulation may better explain why historically this has been an understudied area. This is now changing as credible measures of aggregate regulation are being developed. In this talk, James Broughel of the Mercatus Center will discuss innovations in the measurement of regulation, both for the US case as well as internationally, and will summarize what some of the burgeoning literature on the macroeconomic effects of regulation has had to say about the impact that regulation has on GDP and other macroeconomic variables of interest, such as productivity, employment, and investment.

Credit Card payment is non refundable but you may substitute someone in your place for attendance.
Visit for registration information.

Tue 2/20 eve: Leiserson and Maag on “U.S. Inequality and Recent Tax Changes”

U.S. Inequality and Recent Tax Changes
Tuesday, February 20, 2018 5:45 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Washington Center for Equitable Growth
1500 K Street, N.W., 8th Floor
Washington, DC, 20005
Metro: McPherson Square (15th St. exit)


Dr. Greg Leiserson, Director of Tax Policy and Senior Economist, Washington Center for Equitable Growth

Elaine Maag, Senior Research Associate, Tax Policy Center, Urban Institute

Light refreshments will be served at 5:45 pm, and the seminar begins at 6:00 pm. The seminar is free but reservations are required. Please email Melvyn Sacks at for reservations and admittance.

The U.S. has one of the most unequal income distributions in the developed world, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, after taxes and social-welfare policies are taken into account. According to a report released by the World Economic Forum, the U.S. ranks 23rd out of 30 countries for inequality, even as G.D.P. has greatly expanded following the great recession. This index measures the distribution of income and wealth and poverty.

Ms. Elaine Maag and Dr. Greg Leiserson will examine how the structure of U.S. taxes affects inequality. The U.S. Congress just passed a 1.5 trillion-dollar tax cut that many contend went mostly to corporations and the wealthy. How much will these changes in taxes contribute to inequality and what other factors affect inequality?

Greg’s slides are posted on the WCEG site.

SGE 2018 Annual Conference April 20 at BLS in DC

The Society of Government Economists 2018 Annual Conference will be held Friday, April 20, 2018, 8:30am-4:30pm

Janet Norwood Conference and Training Center
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
2 Massachusetts Ave, NE, Washington, DC

Keynote Speaker: Bruce D. Meyer, McCormick Foundation Professor at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy Studies

See for more information, or to register.

Click here to see the program.

1/18 noon: Demetra Nightingale on “Building and Using Evidence to Improve Public Programs” at 618 H St NW

Demetra Nightingale

Institute Fellow, Urban Institute

“Building and Using Evidence to Improve Public Programs”

An agenda to use evidence from research and evaluation more strategically has gained momentum at the federal level over the past ten years, beginning in the late Bush Administration, expanding during the Obama Administration, and continuing in the Trump Administration.  The current status of the evidence agenda will be discussed, including recent recommendations of the bi-partisan Commission on Evidence-based Policy in their report to Congress, and lessons from institutionalizing an evaluation and evidence strategy at the US Department of Labor.

Demetra  Smith Nightingale, Ph.D., is an Institute Fellow at the Urban Institute, in Washington DC.  Her research focuses on social, economic, and labor issues, particularly workforce development, job training, labor standards, poverty and income security.  She served in the Obama Administration as the Chief Evaluation Officer at the U.S. Department of Labor from 2011-2016, where she led what is recognized as one of the premier evaluation units in the federal government, developing an evidence-based clearinghouse, and integrating program evaluation activities with performance management to improve program results and operational efficiency.  Prior to DOL, she was at the Urban Institute for three decades and at Johns Hopkins University for seven years, teaching graduate courses in social policy and program evaluation. She is also a Professorial Lecturer at the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at the George Washington University, teaching graduate courses in program evaluation.

She continues to work on evidence-based policy issues, such as strategies that enhance governance and accountability, and methodologies for high-quality program evaluations, including experimental and non-experimental designs, rapid feedback studies, implementation studies, and performance analysis. She serves on many boards and advisory groups, was a senior advisor to the World Bank for several years, and is the author or co-author of five books and numerous articles.  Among her books are Repairing the U.S. Social Safety Net (with Martha Burt), The Government We Deserve (with Eugene Steurle, Edward Gramlich and Hugh Heclo), and Reshaping the American Workforce in a Changing Economy (with Harry Holzer).  She is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, and was awarded the 2016 Exemplar Prize from the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management for accomplishments in using research and analysis to inform policy and program innovations. Her PhD in public policy is from the George Washington University.

Note:  Registration is open through Wednesday, 1-17-18.

Credit Card payment is non refundable but you may substitute someone in your place for attendance.
Visit for registration information.