After [the move to 1050 Mass Ave.], economists traveled twice a year or more to conferences, often in Cambridge, where they met their peers in sessions governed by a strict new protocol: twenty minutes (no reading!); a serious discussant to furnish tough-minded criticism; followed by twenty minutes of open discussion. (In contrast, university historians still read their papers at conferences, word for word.) Between times, conference-goers compared notes on latest developments in minicomputers, the new “personal computers,” and increasingly powerful software that economists were developing to analyze data that had begun to circulate, first on floppy disks and then via the mysteries of the Arpanet. Yellowjackets gradually morphed into pdf files.
Read the whole thing: unmissable for economist-watchers.