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.


What a misallocation of resources....

A significant problem in economics is that students are not taught how to identify interesting issues to analyze.

I certainly hope that students don't use this blog as a source of ideas... And yet, I can't resist posting a link to a discussion on freakeconomics on this topic:

There is a new study on the VCII (Vaginal Capacity Index Indicator) which purports to demonstrate the endogeneal interrelation between components of the context of the rationality (and for a remotely extinguished irrational sequence), of international commodity demand effects. The study appears to be an attractive venue for causal inference. I don't have the link.

Here's an other fun example of blogs impacting research: a study with poltically sensitive implications is published in a journal, and some widely read blogs criticize the paper while other widely read blogs praise it. in response, the editor-in-chief of the journal complains the article got too much attention(!) and was downloaded too often(!!), issues an apology to the paper's critics, and actually resigns (!!!) -- without the paper even being retracted, formally criticized, or for that matter even debated in the forum the journal maintains for such debates.

Can you guess which field the paper was in? Yes, I think you can.

I wish that papers like this are not given attention on your blog. I like your discussions on contemporary economic problems, but dislike all this fluff.

We live in interesting times. Economists have many challenges problems to solve - why waste time on this frivolity ?

I am a fan, but with somewhat irritated by posts like this.

I found it interesting...

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