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.