Thursday, September 22, 2011

O impacto dos "blogs de economistas"

The Impact of Economics Blogs, no Worthwhile Canadian Initiative:

Mckenzie and Osler in an August 2011 World Bank Working Paper (thanks to Kris Inwood for making me aware of the report) titled "The Impact of Economics Blogs" attempt to answer some questions regarding the impact of economics blogs using quantitative evidence. First, does blogging improve research dissemination of a blogger's working papers or refereed publications? Second, does blogging raise public profile for the blogger? Third, does economic blogging transform readers in terms of ideas or their knowledge level. The authors download data from RePEc and combine it with some survey data to answer these questions. They systematically searched the blogs of the 50 most read finance and economics blogs for references to papers on RePEc. They estimate a regression in which the number of abstract views is regressed on a set of lagged dummy variables which take on a value of 1 if the paper is blogged about in time t - there are monthly lags.

Their results are interesting. They find that links to scholarly articles (including working papers as I have done above) in a blog leads to a significant increase in their probability of being downloaded. The impact is larger the more popular is the blog. As well, blogging appears to enhance the profile of the bloggers in terms of recognition. They use a probit analysis to see if there is a higher probability of being on the "favorite economist list" (constructed by Davis, Econ Journal Watch 8(2): 126-46) if you are an economics blogger and they estimate that there is a 40 percentage point greater likelihood. However, using an experimental approach they also show that the short run effect on attitudes and knowledge are relatively weak - thus I suppose one may be blogging to the converted.

Do blogs make a difference? The authors conclude that blogging and economic blogs in particular "are doing more than providing a new source of procrastination for writers and readers." They seem to have an important effect on research dissemination in particular as well as some recognition and reputational effects. I would have to say that the latter of course is more dependent on just how many people visit the blog - a form of dissemination of its own.

So if blogging has such positive benefits, why don't more economists blog? The authors quote Tyler Cowen and argue that its simply a different set of skills and not everyone is good at them. They also suggest that there are positive externalities to blogging and there may be an undersupply of good economics blogs.
O estudo em questão - Working Paper: The Impact of Economics Blogs - está aqui (contêm o PDF e mais uns ficheiros com dados).

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