Invitation to Washington, DC
I am delighted to invite you to the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Accounting Association in Washington, DC The meeting begins on Saturday, August 4 and extends through Wednesday evening, August 8. The theme for this year'smeeting is "Seeds of Innovation." My hope is that the meeting will help members gain new knowledge, see new perspectives on their currentscholarly interests, and explore developments from other fields that may ultimately help foster the kinds of innovations that will attract the attention of the next generation of accounting scholars.
Every year AAA has a Presidential Scholar named who gives an address in a special session of the annual meeting. The intent of the Presidential Scholar address is for a senior scholar whose work has fundamentally altered the direction of the discipline to offer his or her unique perspectives. This year I am breaking that tradition by having co-Presidential Scholars: Ray Ball and Philip Brown AM. Possibly the most important academic paper ever written in accounting is "An Empirical Evaluation of Accounting Income Numbers," published in the Autumn 1968 issue of the Journal of Accounting Research. This seminal work was developed while Ray and Philip were Ph.D. students at the University of Chicago. In keeping with the theme of the meeting, the title of their addresses is "A Seed That Made a Difference: Ball and Brown (1968)." They both have had highly successful academic careers and are widely recognized as leaders in the discipline. Ray and Philip's talks will be presented in a special plenary session immediately after lunch on Tuesday August 7, 2012.
The meeting includes three additional plenary sessions with engaging and provocative speakers drawn from a range of academic disciplines. Monday morning's opening plenary session will include two addresses. Professor Bruce Carruthers, a sociologist at Northwestern University, will speak on "Accounts and Social Context: Why Accounting is a Sociological Issue." Professor Carruthers works in the area of economic sociology, and has written papers on the importance of double-entry bookkeeping for the emergence of capitalism. Monday's second plenary speaker is Professor Deirdre McCloskey from the University of Illinois-Chicago. Professor McCloskey has made important contributions in several areas including economic history, rhetoric, and the morality that allows capitalist economies to thrive. She has written a series of papers (and a book) on the use and abuse of statistical significance, which will be the topic of her plenary talk.
The plenary session on Tuesday morning will feature two prominent neuro-economics researchers. Professor Greg Berns is on the faculty at Emory University. Greg's work on valuation within the human brain is a major research contribution. His research has been published in leading science journals, and he is presently extending his work to include the neuroscience of group decision-making and how investors' brains respond to corporate earnings announcements. The second plenary speaker for Tuesday morning is Professor Kevin McCabe, a professor of economics and law at George Mason University. Professor McCabe's recent work has directly investigated the "theory of mind" and its role in economic exchange using neuro-imaging techniques. In addition, he has written several papers on reciprocity, trust, and economic preferences. His work has been published in leading science journals and has included several papers directly relevant to accounting issues.
The two speakers at the final plenary on Wednesday morning are scholars working on an interdisciplinary research program focused on economic decision-making by humans and other primates. Professor Bart Wilson is an economist at the Economic Sciences Institute at Chapman University. His work over the past several years uses laboratory experiments to identify the origins of economic institutions. His recent work includesa 2008 AER paper that shows how property rights emerge along with exchange and division of labor. Other related work explores the emergence of property norms in 18th century whaling. His talk is entitled "The Emergence of Property as a Convention in the Laboratory." The second plenary speaker on Wednesday is Sarah Brosnan, a well-known primatologist at Georgia State University. Professor Brosnan's research investigates how evolution has shaped preferences for reciprocity and equity in the economic decisions of non-human primates. Her talk "Coordination Across the Primates," will describe commonalities in economic behavior across different primate species including humans, chimpanzees, and monkeys.
As in the past there are a number of pre-meeting activities including our fifth Conference on Teaching and Learning in Accounting (CTLA). There will also be sessions that discuss the recommendations of the Pathways Commission for change in accounting education. In addition, there will be a host of sessions of interest to accounting educators.
I am especially excited about two at-large sessions that pull from sessions at prior AAA meetings. The first is a session moderated by Jonathan Glover titled "Is accounting an information science?" At this session, John Fellingham will present concepts from his text, which relates accounting to communication channels, stocks and flows, and information synergy. This session might be regarded as a sequel to the session at the 2006 AAA meeting at which John, along with Professor Joel Demski, considered the question: "Is accounting an academic discipline?" In a second session moderated by Pierre Liang, Doug Schroeder will discuss accounting and causal effects, highlighting the counterfactual nature of causal or treatment effect analyses of accounting designs, wherein outcome data are frequently missing by choice. Various identification strategies will be summarized with their credibility depending on the analysts' background knowledge of the setting. The talk is complementary to Jeff Wooldridge's talk at the 2012 FARS mid-year meeting.
Putting together a meeting the size and complexity of our Annual Meeting takes the combined efforts of a very large number of volunteers. This year's Program Co-Chairs are Rick Young and Anil Arya both from Ohio State University. There are three separate Program Advisory committees: the Strategic Relationships Team led by Janet Butchko (Deloitte and Touche); the Teaching and Learning Events Team headed by David Dennis (Otterbein University); and the Research Events Team led by Masako Darrough (Baruch College-CUNY). Many others assist these team leaders. In addition, the Section Liaisons play a major role in shaping the program, and the work by a great many reviewers improves the quality of the meeting and provides valuable feedback to authors of submitted papers. I am enormously grateful for the contribution of time and expertise of all these AAA member-volunteers.
Washington, DC is a truly amazing city in which to hold our Annual Meeting. This year's meeting will be held at the Gaylord National Hotel and Conference Center. The Gaylord, located in the Washington, DC area (National Harbor, Maryland), is a beautiful property on the Potomac River and it is able to host all of our member events under one roof. The hotel itself houses several different restaurants, all with their own unique theme. If you do choose to venture out from the hotel, there is a convenient shuttle into DC that departs directly from the Gaylord's Main Lobby or from locations nearby. There is also a convenient water taxi that will take you right into Old Town Alexandria. The sheer number of museums and monuments make Washington, DC a truly unique city.
Come and enjoy the interaction with colleagues, the stimulation of research and teaching discussions, and the excitement of the nation's capital. I look forward to seeing you in Washington this August.
President, American Accounting Association
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