That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is one excerpt:
Here’s the dirty little secret that few of my fellow economics professors will admit: As those “perfect” research papers have grown longer, they have also become less relevant. Fewer people — including academics — read them carefully or are influenced by them when it comes to policy.
Actual views on politics are more influenced by debates on social media, especially on such hot topics such as the minimum wage or monetary and fiscal policy. The growing role of Twitter doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Social media is egalitarian, spurs spirited debate and enables research cooperation across great distances.
Still, an earlier culture of “debate through books” has been replaced by a new culture of “debate through tweets.” This is not necessarily progress.
To use a bit of economic terminology, economists haven’t fully internalized the lessons of the Laffer Curve. By demanding so much rigor in academic research, they’ve created an environment in which most of the economics people actually see is less rigorous.
There is also a political effect. Twitter is a relatively left-wing social medium, and so the tenor of popular economic discourse has moved to the left.
Recommended, and it is one of those pieces where the reaction to the piece itself confirms the thesis of the piece…