Saturday, September 10, 2011

Working Paper: The Impact of Economics Blogs

From a World Bank Policy Research Working Paper titled "The Impact of Economics Blogs":

"There is a proliferation of economics blogs, with increasing numbers of economists attracting large numbers of readers, yet little is known about the impact of this new medium. Using a variety of experimental and non-experimental techniques, we have provided the first quantitative evidence that they are having impacts.

First, links from blogs cause a striking increase in the number of abstract views and downloads of economics papers, while a majority of economics blog readers say they have read a new paper in the past month as a result of a blog. Second, blogging raises the profile of the blogger (and his or her institution) and boosts their reputation above economists with similar publication records. Finally, a blog can transform attitudes about some of the topics it covers."


At 9/10/2011 2:54 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

It seems, even most economists don't understand the macroeconomy.

This train wreck could've been completely avoided.

There are so many inefficiencies in tax collecting, income redistributing, and strangulating regulations that it's a wonder the U.S. creates any net wealth.

However, over the past four years, no net wealth has been created, even with historic expansionary fiscal policy and quantitative easing.

According to Paul Krugman, if we had a V-shaped recovery like the Reagan recovery, the country would've had $2.9 trillion of additional output by the end of 2011.

Instead, the federal government is spending $1.1 trillion a year more than in 2007 to maintain living standards.

At 9/10/2011 3:13 PM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote fro PeakTrader: "According to Paul Krugman, ..."

And when has Krugman ever been right?

There's no such thing as a "macroeconomy", only aggregated data that shows nothing related to reality and is used by politicians to manipulate the political process.

At 9/10/2011 3:25 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Geoih, Krugman has often been right, but too often not quite right.

Of course, there's a macroeconomy.

Is it more accurate to measure the material well-being of an indivdual, some individuals, or all individuals?

At 9/10/2011 3:37 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

The fundamental flaw in Krugman, and other elitists, is the belief he knows better than you.

At 9/10/2011 3:45 PM, Blogger Benjamin Cole said...

Scott Sumner has become the most influential of a group of conservative bloggers who are arguing for a Fed that targets a nominal GDP every year.

This is related to what Milton Friedman advocated to Japan, and when you hit low interest rates, requires the use of QE (Friedman advocated that for Japan as well, as did John Taylor).

Scott Sumner (Money Illusion), David Beckworth, Marcus Nunes (excellent blogger), David Glasner Uneasy Money-Hawtryblog)--I heartily recommend these bloggers to anyone, and they operate above the shallow partisan pandering that characterizes so many "economics" blogs. you won't find politically correct anecdotes as conversation fodder.

Sumner is cited by some, such as Bruce Bartlett, for changing the nature of the monetary debate in this country, and Sumner was recently cited by the NYT as a "big name: economist.

At 9/10/2011 3:54 PM, Blogger Cabodog said...

I often wonder about the effect of the internet on the "speed of information" and resulting effect on the market -- ie, more volatility, fear and panic.

At 9/10/2011 5:20 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

the "popularization" of economics for the masses?

har har har...

one might say that with all these socialistic countries with their unsustainably generous entitlement programs that LESS people understand economics, eh?


At 9/10/2011 5:57 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Larry, denial may be the initial reaction when told the tooth fairy doesn't exist.

At 9/10/2011 6:04 PM, Blogger James E. Miller said...

Blogs also serve the useful purpose of bitching about the conventional wisdom of "if the economy slows down, print and spend money, if it stays slowed down, print and spend more money."

Thank God for the internet. Economics is no longer confined to armchair academics spitting out incomprehensible formulas and 30 page papers that recommend the government just spend more money.

At 9/10/2011 11:52 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

The impact is only material if the economist gets things right or if he is playing political games and does not really care about reality. In the first case the ability to understand what is going on will attract rational readers who are impressed with knowledge and its application. In the second the blogger will attract people with a political point of view that is faith based and requires no knowledge or logic. It seems to me that the majority of bloggers belong in the second category.

At 9/11/2011 2:57 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"However, over the past four years, no net wealth has been created, even with historic expansionary fiscal policy and quantitative easing."

Let me fix that for you:

However, over the past four years, no net wealth has been created, due to historic expansionary fiscal policy and quantitative easing.

There. That's better.

If nothing else, it should be obvious, based on your statement, that those policies don't work.

At 9/11/2011 6:13 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

playing the devils advocate here -

name 3 countries whose fiscal policies are "correct" and as a result have better economies....

the problem with armchair economic blogs is people tend to focus on things in isolation... and advocate policies of which there are no existing examples of..

surely there are some countries in the world who do economics "right", eh?


At 9/11/2011 8:35 AM, Blogger Innovation rules said...

As a career business person and voracious reader, the Internet in general reveals just how far left academics really is, including the economics profession.

I don't know how to say this without sounding pretentious, but most leftist arguments, especially social sciences like economics, sound like religious arguments to me (thank you to George Mason).

I mean, if you have an IQ>100 and you really believe WWII lifted the economy out of depression, I am not sure how it is going to be possible to talk reasonably with you. Because you probably believe all kinds of strange and irrational things.

If you believe that intelligent and creative, ever more centralized bureaucracies form the future and security of civilization, then I do not understand your interpretation of reality and the history of such organizations on the ebb and flow of humanity.

If you believe, regardless of the efficacy of the arguments, that academics and other 'experts' should exert ever more control over the rights and actions of autonomous human beings, then I do not first and foremost understand your sense of morality, and I am sorely skeptical of your sense of right and wrong, and how it affects your decision making on everything from the mundane to the future of man; I am concerned for your child rearing practices, your ability to think through problems in group settings and your gullibility when it comes to faddish ideas. For you are surely the type of person that would push all the wrong buttons if someone in authority asked you.

And more practically, I seriously suspect that control freaks are naturally attracted to academia, where they can pontificate in an unnaturally authoritarian setting to artificially captured hearts and minds. And that is first and foremost the greatest reason for privatising education, so that competition gives at least some chance that alternatives will germinate.

At 9/11/2011 8:43 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

there are 196 countries in the world and 196 opportunities to take different paths on economic policy.

they are not "theoretical" and they are not left or right... they are real.

when considering problems and changes - proposing changes of which there are no real world examples is problematic in the extreme.

It's essentially an experiment that has never been tried.

or if it had in the past - it did not survive...

as a result - I'm leery of ANY proposal no matter what the folks proposing it are claiming that their economic philosophies are.

Not against innovation.. at all but want to have more than a "trust me" ... as we've already seen from the supply-sider religion....

no country in the world that I know of how an optimal/well functioning - SUCCESSFULLY operational minimal govt economy.

it's theory...not reality.

At 9/11/2011 8:57 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Qoute from PeakTrader: "Is it more accurate to measure the material well-being of an indivdual, some individuals, or all individuals?"

"Well-being" is subjective and unquantifiable. You might as well try to quantify and aggregate love or beauty.

Human beings are not inanimate gas molecules. To think you can measure and aggregate the subjective opinions of millions of individuals and then use these 'values' to plan and direct an economy is farcical and shows a profound ignorance of reality.

At 9/11/2011 9:04 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

....and yet 173 out of 196 countries have some kind of social insurance which implies to me a view of human equity at least in some areas....of human condition....

not saying it's justified or not - just pointing out that the vast majority of countries in the world believe in something more than subjective reasoning about the collective well-being of citizens.

At 9/11/2011 11:07 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

It seems, "leftists" are attracted to economics much more than economics turning out leftists.

In undergrad and grad econ, you spend so much time on unbiased orthodox theories, methodologies, and equations that there's no time for leftist "rants" by professors, unlike some non-economics undergrad classes.

At 9/11/2011 11:11 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

here's the blog I am waiting for:

"The three TOP libertarian based economies in the world."

where is that pesky thread?

At 9/11/2011 3:42 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"and yet 173 out of 196 countries have some kind of social insurance which implies to me a view of human equity at least in some areas"...

Hmmm, sounds like the control freaks are taking over and they don't give a damn about the human condition...

At 9/15/2011 12:13 PM, Blogger Ian Random said...

Nothing new here. When I worked at a library, they said that people want to read about the economy when they are unemployed. The only difference is the medium has changed.


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