Friday, November 24, 2006

Macro blogging

Since overcoming my TV news addiction I increasingly rely on blogs for information about the macro world. The Los Angeles Times had an article yesterday about economics blogs yesterday (Thanksgiving). Let me share a few snippets from the LA Times piece:

“Of the top 100 sites in the blogosphere, four or five are about economics, said Brian Gongol, a small-business owner who compiles blog ratings and is an econo-blogger himself. That alone is surprising….

"What academics are interested in is ideas," said David Colander, an economics professor at Middlebury College who has studied how the discipline has evolved. "Whatever leads to the furtherance of those ideas, they're interested in."Colander is skeptical that the blogs will ever make economists into pop icons. (So am I!) He was one of 100 members of the profession featured on promotional trading cards issued in 1996 by a book publisher in a program called Economists Hall of Fame. Although the cards are still floating around, it's doubtful many kids collect them.
The market value of the economist cards — or anything else signed by economists — is still pretty low, Colander said. His advice for investors thinking of gambling on the idea that economists are the celebrities of the future?‘I'd say buy a baseball card instead.’”

I hope that if you are a student in my Econ 2 online class that you recognize David Colander’s name.

Two blog aggregators that allow the reader to skim through lots of econ blogs at once to look for issues of interest are Economics Roundtable and BlogNetBiz/Econ/Econ.

Greg Mankiw of Harvard, who was the former chair of the Council of Economics Advisors, has a stimulating blog that is often quite conservative in its normative economics. Brad DeLong, a former Clinton administration official, and now at Berkeley writes an equally provocative blog that leans to the left. Both of these blogs are among my favorites because they generally practice the “art of economics.”

My crystal ball and psychic powers tell me that a major topic of conversation on the macro blogosphere in coming months will be the depreciation of the U.S. dollar. I hope that you will see why I think that way when you read Chapter 18 of your text. Then you’re done with the reading for the course. Whew! I hope that all of you had a restful Thanksgiving, and are ready to complete the home stretch of Econ 2 online.

Extra credit: What is the most visited blog that focuses on economics? What is the source of your information? If you are the first student to send me an e-mail ( with the answer, you will be rewarded with two extra credit Discussion Board points. Only two points extra credit per student can be earned in any given week from the blog questions.

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