This conference was organized by the International Input-Output Association (IIOA). It was attended by nearly 300 researchers in the field of input-output analysis from almost 50 countries.
The conference was organized into plenary sessions and specialist parallel sessions, typically with eight sessions taking place simultaneously, covering theoretical and applied aspects of input-output analysis. The specialist themes included, inter alia:
- input-output analysis for policy making
- environmental input-output analysis
- econometric input-output models
- regional impact analysis
- multi-regional input-output models
- regional input-output modelling
- structural change and dynamics
- input-output accounts and statistics
- international trade
- productivity and efficiency analysis
- vertical specialization and outsourcing
- input-output analysis of disasters
Typically, there were 4 or 5 papers in each session, with each session lasting 1.5 to 2 hours. As with many conferences, the presentation skills of the presenters varied from painful to excellent! The large number of specialist parallel sessions meant that the audiences were typically small (12-18) but the advantage was that the level of discussion was generally high. A specific problem with this conference was that several scheduled papers were cancelled because the presenters did not turn up! Although this caused some problems (especially for the person in the chair), it did create more time for each paper. I had 30 minutes for my presentation (including questions), which was ideal.
I mainly attended the sessions on regional input-output modelling and on input-output analysis for policy making. My own presentation was well received. It was attended by researchers from several countries, many of whom were applying the regional modelling methodology I articulated in a seminal article in Regional Studies in 1995. The presentation drew specifically on two papers: one in Regional Studies (first published online in August 2011) and the other in the International Regional Science Review (first published online in June 2012). The conference afforded a good opportunity for me to publicize my joint work with Timo Tohmo, of the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, who also attended the conference. We benefited greatly from the networking opportunities it offered. The audiences at IIOA conferences tend to be very different from those at RSA conferences, especially in terms of their familiarity with relevant technical material, and this was a valuable feature.
I publicized the RSA and its conferences in my second PowerPoint slide, and by distributing copies of an RSA membership pamphlet to the audiences in the sessions I attended. I am very grateful to the RSA for making it possible for me, as a retired lecturer, to attend this conference, which was both enjoyable and very useful in terms of furthering my research.