Let's compare four stacks: One that failed beta, one that's in beta, one that's launched successfully and the previous economics stack proposal.
Game Theory: 1.8 q/day 50% answered 176 users 1.4 A:Q 50 visits/day
History: 5.4 q/day 94% answered 5590 users 2.1 A:Q 5444 visits/day
IT Security*: 6.9 q/day 99% answered 3118 users 2.9 A:Q 912 visits/day
Economics (old): 1.4 q/day 87% answered 922 users 1.5 A:Q 223 visits/day
* Statistics only go up to the point that the stack launched. For instance, there are approximately 44,000 users for the IT Security stack at current.
As you can see, some metrics are more important than others if you want your beta to be given the time needed to grow. The response rate for the old economics beta was healthy but the level of questions asked was simply far too low. The other metrics aren't as immediately relevant to the initial survival of a beta as the user base and visitation count grows organically over time and many mature stacks hover between 1.5 and 3 answers; depending on subject matter.
The relationship between the commitment stage and the beta stage is clear: To get the beta to survive the first few months, to start drawing in search results and cross-stack references, the initial pool of committed users must post questions and must answer them.
I would suggest each committed user stockpiles interesting and fun economics questions to post over the first few weeks. Half an hour of brainstorming on the questions you've always wanted to ask but don't fit the other stacks should suffice. This initial steady stream of questions and answers will get people's juices flowing so they don't wander off after a couple of weeks.
I believe successful betas initially start off as a bit of a closed-knit group of regular users asking each other questions and challenging their subject matter depth and breath, and then feeding in new users over time. The cohesiveness of the group and a generally agreed consensus on how to manage the site will encourage the avid user base to stay active.
The important point being: That without a community, most betas don't survive.
We start as a disparate group of people from different stacks but we must assign some personal value to being together on an new economics stack exchange.