More evidence on the research impact of blogs

In a new paper, Otto Kassi and Tatu Westling write (pdf):

This study explores the short-run spillover e ffects of popular research papers. We consider the publicity of ‘Male Organ and Economic Growth: Does Size Matter?’ as an exogenous shock to economics discussion paper demand, a natural experiment of a sort. In particular, we analyze how the very substantial visibility influenced the downloads of Helsinki Center of Economic Research discussion papers. Di fference in diff erences and regression discontinuity analysis are conducted to elicit the spillover patterns. This study fi nds that the spillover eff ect to average economics paper demand is positive and statistically signi ficant. It seems that hit papers increase the exposure of previously less downloaded papers. We find that part of the spillover e ffect could be attributable to Internet search engines’ influence on browsing behavior. Conforming to expected patterns, papers residing on the same web page as the hit paper evidence very significant increases in downloads which also supports the spillover thesis.


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