Anyway, I attended AAEA in DC back in early August, presenting a poster about the factors that predict independent financial decisions by women in rural Tanzania (more to come). Sendhil Mullainathan was an excellent keynote speaker and proposed some creative answers to tough questions.
Why do the poor so often miss deadlines for public benefits? Why do dieters struggle so much with temptation? Why does socioeconomic status play such a huge role on education test scores?
Mullainathan relates all these things to brain bandwidth, proposing the (not so ground-breaking, actually) idea that in the face of scarcity, our processing is distracted and slower. The provocative examples in his talk makes his upcoming book enticing. Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much.
Couldn't get a video of his dynamic presentation at the conference, but since TED talks have made presentations cool again, here's a good one from 2010.