What are economics blogs good for?

But the Harvard economist [Dani Rodrik] finds the blog – short for Web log – useful because it serves as a reference catalog for his ideas. “I now constantly Google my own blog for ideas that I knew I had at some point,” he says. “Previously, the ideas would have come and gone. The first good thing is that I have them a little more developed, and, secondly, I can actually recover them.”

Here is the whole story, on the rise of the econ blogosphere, which has much from yours truly.  It is in this issue from the Richmond Fed, which has much of interest on economics and the economics profession.  Here is an article on experimental vs. behavioral economics.


I find my blog plays the same role. (And our family blog likewise, in terms of cataloguing our family's major activities. Every good quote I hear, brief comments on papers I've read, books I've read, etc. I haven't found a better way to catalog, as well as adding some marginal value in sharing the info.

Of course, that can't justify checking the blog statistics.

So, as the number of economics blogs increases, that must mean the economy is getting better.

Or are economics blogs like diet books: read but not applied -- or if applied, ineffective? ;)

I think that blogs will play a revolutionary part when the history of the current financial crisis is written.

Ex-post explanations of any event are vulnerable to a number of biases. In the past, apart from sporadic columns and speeches by a handful of economists, it was tough to get inside the minds of economists as events unfolded. Scholarly articles take a long time to research and write, and so are subject to bias as well.

But thanks to the many prominent economists who blog, we have a real-time debate between dozens (or more) of economic professionals.

An example: six months hence, what non-blogging economist would be able to describe how his views evolved over the last six weeks? How did he feel on the Friday before Lehman Brothers collapsed? How was that different from after Lehman went under, but before AIG was bailed out? And after AIG was bailed out? Then there is the the dialogue that took place over the bailout proposals. A blog post in the morning could be completely overturned by the evening, based on the day's events.

Blogging didn't start taking off until about 2002. WordPress and TypePad debuted in 2003, the same year that Blogger was bought up by Google. Pardon the hyperbole, but we are now witnessing the largest historical event since blogging reached maturity (or at least adolescence). I think that the history of this crisis will be much more accurate, thanks to blogs' real-time repository of ideas.

Econ blogs are making the term "dismal science" a clear misnomer. Thank
you Alex and Tyler for your extensive efforts on MR!

it is a good topic

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