It's A Watershed Moment for Economics Bloggers; Econ Has Never Been So Captivating, Relevant
Americans trying to understand the nail-biting financial trauma of the past several months are flocking by the millions to a surprisingly lively source of enlightenment: blogs written by economists. Such blogs are thriving in this recession, driven by intense interest from policymakers, investors, academics and people like Zina Poletz, a Minneapolis public-relations executive who says she had little interest in economics before the financial crisis intensified last fall. “I never thought I’d be sitting up late at night reading what Ben Bernanke thinks, but now I do,” she says.
The result is a watershed moment for economics bloggers, ranging from academics to armchair economists, who are all too happy to help readers fill in the blanks—or find a place to vent their frustrations. Traffic to the top sites, such as Marginal Revolution, Freakonomics and the blogs from academics such as Paul Krugman, Greg Mankiw and Brad DeLong, surged anywhere from 80% to 250% from July to September 2008 as the financial crisis intensified, according to Compete.com, a Web site that measures Internet traffic. The most popular blogs can attract as many as 50,000 to 100,000 page views a day.
MP: The chart above (click to enlarge) tracks daily unique visitors to Greg Mankiw's blog (green line) and Carpe Diem (blue line) over the last 12 months using the site comparison feature at Compete.com's website (free subscription may be required). The traffic trend confirms the significant increase in traffic last fall for both blogs, which actually sent blog traffic at Carpe Diem above Greg Mankiw for a few days in early November.