Quote of the day

The journals have long served as tombstones, certifications for tenure committees, rather than a forum in which ideas get argued.

From Paul Krugman on the econoblogosphere.

What the blogs have done, in a way, is open up that process. Twenty years ago it was possible and even normal to get research into circulation and have everyone talking about it without having gone through the refereeing process – but you had to be part of a certain circle, and basically had to have graduated from a prestigious department, to be part of that game. Now you can break in from anywhere…

His arguments apply even more to development than to macroeconomics.

4 thoughts on “Quote of the day

  1. Great quote. And it applies even more to scholars in developing countries than it does to scholars in developed countries, or al lest it should! This is because blogs reduce the cost of getting ideas out there to a magnitude that is now affordable to scholars in relatively poor countries.

  2. Behind this optimism, there is the sunk assumption that there is an acceptable noise-to-signal ratio in the econoblogosphere. I personally have mixed views about that.

    I mean, there is some litterature in the economics of science that examines how institutions intermediating -and thus restricting entry in the market for ideas- can improve the quality of research.

    I personally found my passion as an economist reading blogs (and now it’s the way I make a living); but with that, you also get a lot of noise coming from more or less cranky guys like the austrians or the unsophisticated keynesianism that you can find in some -most- blogs.

    It’s rather intuitive, actually: one effect of communication technology is to make the organization of very active, small, marginal and mobilized groups easier. This applies either to heterodox economics, to terrorism or heavy metal. For someone coming from an upper middle class environment like myself, having any affinity for any of those topics was basically a sociological suicide: I could find no one in my environment who would share it. With the internet (blogs, amazon, etc), I can become either a Marxist, a member of Al-Qaeda or fan of Cradle of Filth in a much easier way(for the record, I chose to become the latter).

    The bottom line in my view is that there is an empowerment of minorities (since there are size effects in organization). Your evaluation of that fact depends on whether you believe that minorities are excluded for the right or the wrong reasons.

    Btw, this is the first comment I put in this blog. I really like it.

  3. I agree but I think the effect is limited. A blog like this one or the Wolrd Bank Development Impact blog have done a lot to put the current conversation of academic development economics on-line. For someone like me, a grad student at a non-top school, this has been hugely beneficial by making the conversation public long before it hits the journals.

    At the same time, reading papers and blogs takes time and so people devote most time to the most credible blogs which are those coming from individuals in prestigious places, and those bloggers still use the same filters (NBER working papers, conferences, etc.) to select the papers they blog about.

  4. i am a wannabe economist who will probably never go back to school, and the only source i have (or would ever choose to visit) for econ papers is the blogs. gated journal sites are of no use or interest to me.