by on December 1, 2014 at 2:11 pm in Current Affairs, Economics, Weblogs | Permalink

A new website, for popular capitalism.  It looks nice, otherwise I am not well informed about it.

The famous political science blog Monkey Cage will be joining The Washington Post (congratulations!) and apparently this will be the arrangement:

Actually, we negotiated a one year exemption from the paywall. So for first 12 months, not at all. After that, will continue to be open to anyone with .edu, .mil, and .gov accounts.

A while ago I asked a related question.  But my answer blew it on one major possibility.  Doesn’t Andrew Sullivan have a reasonably strong claim to that title, especially after the recent Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage?  Sullivan was the dominant intellectual influence on this issue, from the late 1980s on, and that is from a time where other major civil liberties figures didn’t give gay marriage much of a second thought, one way or the other, or they wished to run away from the issue.  Here is his classic 1989 New Republic essay.  Here is a current map of where gay marriage is legal and very likely there is more to come.

Sullivan was also a very early blogger, and an inspiration for many in that regard (myself included), and the blogging innovation seems like it is going to stick.  That’s two big wins right there, and how many other people can even come up with one?

Many of you will complain about his “war blogging,” his connection to Obama, and perhaps other matters, but no matter what you think on these issues it still seems to me he holds the lead.

Pre-Sullivan, I would give the honors to Milton Friedman.

Life after Google Reader

by on June 25, 2013 at 2:24 pm in Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink

Via Michael Rosenwald, here is one list of options, with attached evaluations.  I have been using Feedly and it is working fine for me.  I expected high transition costs, but within a minute or two, and then a system reboot, everything was up and running without a hitch.  I did not feel confused by the shift in visual fields, as I had been expecting.  I don’t pretend to know it is best, and I may not stick with Feedly forever, but this has not turned out to be a crisis and there is no reason to resent Google for axing their Reader.

Ari Timonen asks me:

Just as a reader request I would like to suggest a post about the intellectual disagreements or differences of economic opinions of econosphere and academic economics. That is what kind of biases does a person generate by reading econosphere. I’m not talking about basic economics which you can learn from a textbook but the intellectual discourse on some more nuanced subjects. An example would be maybe macroeconomics of current financial mess but anything goes. The more contrast the better.

It is hard to know where to start with this one.  Focusing on macroeconomics, here are just a few points of many:

1. The blogosphere is more likely to believe that activist monetary policy can lower the rate of unemployment like turning a faucet or flipping a switch.

2. The blogosphere is more likely to accept a hand-waving approach to labor markets and nominal wage stickiness, whereas the broader profession is more interested in matching models, the microfoundations of unemployment, and whether activist policy will make as much of a difference as Econ 101 models might suggest.

3. The blogosphere is more likely to criticize DSGE models, whereas the profession is more likely to see such models of as providing discipline for any business cycle explanation, Keynesian included.

4. The blogopshere is more interested in morally judging macroeconomic policy and macroeconomic policymakers, and for that matter judging other bloggers and writers.

On all of these questions my views are closer to those of the specialists in the economics profession.  That said, I don’t mean to favor the profession outright.  On any specific question, the profession likely will look better than the blogosphere, if we dig deeply enough into the accumulated stock of research (and if we dig with the talents of a blogger).  Where the profession fails is its excess specialization and also its inability to make speedy, direct, and publicly observable progress on important debates of the day, and on these questions I would give the economics blogosphere relatively high marks.  There are very large numbers of quite smart and accomplished economists who a) don’t really read blogs, and b) don’t have much of a clue as to what is going on.  That is changing, funeral by funeral.

Justin Wolfers tells us to find him here.  Here is one tweet:

Mankiw blog notes all-Harvard CEA now. More amazing: all CEA chairs and members since 2000 got PhD from Cambridge MA schools except 1: Stock

Michael Makowsky writes me an email about a conference he was invited to:

Predictably, the lineup of speakers are people who no one cares about, but tickets remain $45. This is analogous to something in stand-up comedy and music called a “bringer show” i.e. you can perform if you sell X tickets, thus “bringing” a crowd. At least, this is my suspicion.

But it got me thinking about your various “benefit to infovores” theories of recent advances in technology. I think you have underplayed the other side of that coin – that recent advances are also especially valuable to *narcissists*. You can foster a sense that a people are watching/care about you much easier than 30 years ago. The market for enabling narcissism is…substantial. I actually expect TedX and similar bricks and mortar portings to lose money. But that is besides the point. Vanity presses and the such have existed on the periphery forever. The internet is a vanity press upped several orders of magnitude. My point is that this is, I think, a near perfect inversion of the “infovore” concept, but with the identical result. It’s an advance that yields tons of consumer surplus, but little additional opportunity to increase anyone’s marginal product, i.e. help the labor market.

There is something almost recursive about an academic building a theory around the demand for enabling narcissism.

As reported from Kids Prefer Cheese:

Me and Mrs. Angus have decided to get bloggy about development, growth & macro over at a new site, Cherokee Gothic. You can read about why it’s called that here. While it will mostly be us, we hope to enlist other OU faculty to contribute to the site as well.

I’ll still be blogging here with Mungo at KPC, bringing the crazy like nobody’s business, but please check us out, follow us, put us in your blogroll, and just generally show us some mad blogosphere love.

The word that is Swedish

by on March 29, 2013 at 2:39 am in Education, Weblogs | Permalink

1. Bloggbävning, n.
Definition: Literally translating to “blogquake,” the word describes the process by which a topic explodes in the blogosphere and is then picked by by more mainstream media outlets.
Used in an English sentence: “Man, that ‘ogooglebar’ thing really caused a bloggbävning today.”

Somehow I don’t think this post itself is going to Bloggbävning.  Here are fourteen other Swedish words you should know, interesting throughout.


Note that the title, though not the site address, is THE ÜMLAUT.

Otherwise, they could have called it thenoumlaut.com, or a number of other things.

RSS bleg

by on March 13, 2013 at 11:02 pm in Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink

Google Reader is shutting down in a few months, so what to do?  Your suggestions would be most welcome, please leave them in the comments.

A related question is which blogs will be harmed the most by this development, assuming that the #2 choice of reader isn’t as good.  Very old blogs may be reevaluated as choices to follow, since we all will have to fill out new feeds all over again.  Blogs which post not so frequently will be hurt too, in relative terms as well as absolute.  If you know a blog will post frequently, you simply might substitute into site visits.  This will also likely hurt blogs with a lot of ads, such as the Forbes blogs which I know, again speaking in relative as well as absolute terms.

Addendum: Here are comments from Matt.

Paywalls for blogs?

by on January 3, 2013 at 1:02 am in Weblogs | Permalink

Andrew Sullivan will give it a try, as you probably have heard by now.  I wish him well with it, but I also hope no one else tries too hard.  (Note by the way that Sullivan will allow a free RSS feed, with complete posts, and free links from other blogs, so this is hardly a full gate.)  In the limiting case, imagine a blogosphere where everything is gated for some price.  What could we at MR link to?  There would be every day “What I’ve been Reading,” with links to Amazon (they’re not going to gate), rather than every few weeks.  More from Wikipedia, and more travel notes.  More abstract requests from readers (“what should I do with my life?”, and “does she really love me?”).  More government statistics and more BBC.

I’ve long thought that the last ten years have been a golden age for the blogosphere, and that soon the financial constraints are really going to start biting on MSM.  Many of you already get upset at FT links, which have a fairly strict gate, and perhaps the few remaining newspapers will all work that way within two or three years’ time.

What do you all think?  Here are comments from Felix Salmon.

Arnold Kling is blogging again

by on November 24, 2012 at 4:09 pm in Economics, Education, Weblogs | Permalink

The blog is here, the subtitle is “taking the most charitable view of those who disagree.”  Arnold is a favorite of mine, along a variety of dimensions I might add.

It is an excellent column and here is one good bit:

Soft Libertarians. Some of the most influential bloggers on the right, like Tyler Cowen, Alex Tabarrok and Megan McArdle, start from broadly libertarian premises but do not apply them in a doctrinaire way.

Many of these market-oriented writers emphasize that being pro-market is not the same as being pro-business. Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago published an influential book, “A Capitalism for the People,” that took aim at crony capitalism. Tim Carney of The Washington Examiner does muckraking reporting on corporate-federal collusion. Rising star Derek Khanna wrote a heralded paper on intellectual property rights for the House Republican Study Committee that was withdrawn by higher-ups in the party, presumably because it differed from the usual lobbyist-driven position.

There are additional shout outs to many other writers I admire (and like).  And this:

Most important, they matured intellectually within a far-reaching Web-based conversation. In contrast to many members of the conservative political-entertainment complex, they are data-driven, empirical and low-key in tone.

But do read the whole thing.

Addendum: Paul Krugman comments.

Pretend Arnold Kling has departed, get under the salary cap, take on Garett Jones and Luigi Zingales (sixth man), keep Bryan and David in the starting line-up, and then get Arnold back again.  Here is Arnold’s very important post on NYC recovery.  I don’t myself have any particular prediction, but I will say this is a real test of how well this country can these days do infrastructure.