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SPA Has Strong Presence at the Risky Behaviors Conference in Turkey

By Lee Ivory

AMERB Group Photo

A delegation of faculty members and a Ph.D. student from the School of Public Affairs made an impactful showing at the 7th Annual Meeting on the Economics of Risky Behaviors (AMERB) in Izmir, Turkey.

The conference, which was organized jointly by the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Germany and the School of Public Affairs this year, has become one of the top platforms for scholars to present state-of-the-art research on preventable health behaviors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, drug use, unprotected sex, poor diets and sedentary lifestyles as well as criminal behavior.

The goal is to advance scientific knowledge on the causes and consequences of these behaviors and ultimately help policymakers come up with evidence-based solutions to deter these kinds of behaviors. The conference was established in 2009 by SPA's Erdal Tekin and Amelie Constant, the Director of Migration Program at IZA. It was first held in Washington, D.C. and followed by events in Atlanta, Bonn, Istanbul, Zurich, and Medellin.

This year's event has been chronicled on social media, using the hashtag, #AMERB. More information on this year's participants and the program are available here.

SPA Dean Barbara Romzek gave opening remarks at the conference, which also included three SPA discussants: professors Seth Gershenson and Taryn Morrissey, and Ph.D. student Katie Vinopal.

"Over the years, this conference has gained such a high reputation, not only because of the quality and strength of its program and participants, but also the quality of the venue," Tekin said. "This is because a strong program is only possible with a strong set of submitted papers and this is directly related to the location of the conference."

"Every year, we receive more than 100 submissions from researchers all over the world for only 14 spots available at the conference," Tekin added. "Accordingly, such high demand enables us to have a high quality program."

A curated social media feed provided a live forum for the SPA community to witness the research and policy presented by SPA faculty and scholars. Notably, future students and scholars of risky behaviors can go directly to the curated #AMERB social media page without having to dig through an avalanche of social media posts.

What's particularly useful about such an approach is that it saves the social media presence surrounding the conference for posterity.

Tekin pointed out that SPA was a full partner with IZA in this year's conference. "SPA's presence and partnership has contributed to the growing reputation of the conference significantly," Tekin said. "At the same time, the conference has also allowed SPA to have a valuable voice in an important and policy-relevant debate, advance its visibility, impact and reputation internationally...(and) facilitated interactions between its faculty and students with some of the world's leading researchers in the field."