Saturday, September 8, 2007

Summer Seminars series continued, Public Choice Outreach @ GMU

With all interest upon the upcoming debate between Professors Caplan and Wittman I am sure little are interested in economic seminars you can attend throughout the summer, but here is my next post in the series, the Public Choice Outreach held at George Mason University.

This seminar is another that has a small number of attendees compared to the larger seminars and again I must give credit towards the small number feel. By the end of the outreach you had bumped into all the individuals at least once and received the notion that most had not studied economics nor heard of public choice until they attended this event. The only fault to this seminar was the amount of time it was held in, two days. Yes, only two days. Everyone arrived on Thursday evening and said our farewells by Sunday morning. The event for me will be best summarized by the phrase "short and sweet".

This event receives a 3.0. It is too great event to be ranked below a 3.o, but the time constraints did not allow it to be ranked higher. By Saturday night instead of wishing for the outreach to end, you were hoping they would include one more topic to discuss. I am not being harsh towards this event, especially since I enjoyed it so much. I only wish for more material.

It received a 3.o because the first day was spent as an introduction to public choice; as I wrote before, this event had many individuals who had never heard of it causing for the need to introduce basic public choice ideas. We receive an overview on the history of public choice and were given books and pamphlets to read in order to help further expand the seminar. The second day expanded off of the introductory remarks and became more intriguing. Professor Caplan had attended the seminar and presented everyone with a copy of his book, The Myth of the Rational Voter, which he signed after he spoke on the books main topics. With such great professors such as Boudreaux, Caplan, Vanberg, and Zywicki, it was almost hard to enjoy the final presentation by the experimental economics team at George Mason University led by Bart Wilson and yes they experimented on us which gave most of us a headache since none of us immediately understood how to play their computer simulation.

This event is definitely for all students. If you do not know anything about public choice then the outreach is the best place to start. If you do have a good background in the subject, the outreach is still a great place to attend. With Professors Tullock and Buchanan who helped create this school of thought on the staff at George Mason University, you can only imagine the other rich individuals you will find in the field at the seminar. Yes the Public Choice Outreach receives a 3.0 since this seminar is not too difficult, not time consuming, extremely friendly, and best of all, they help pay for travel expenses for those who live far away.

Note: If you can stay for an extra day and get invited to Caplacon (which everyone was), you should definitely stay and partake in it.

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