Eric Crampton makes the point that,
The Economist says America's number one in EconBlogging. Why? They have a blogosphere, where Europe only has blogs. It's the links and the discussion that makes the whole thing worthwhile.He later notes that,
New Zealand's getting better. Paul Walker and the TVHE team drew me in, and together we dragged in Seamus (occasionally), Bill Kaye-Blake, and now Sam Richardson. Let's hope we can pull a few other folks into the conversation.One question worth asking is, What percentage of US economists blog as compared to New Zealand economists? I mean does the US have an economics "blogosphere" simply because it has the majority of economists? Even if New Zealand had the same percentage of economists blogging as the US we still wouldn't have an economics blogsphere simply because of the much smaller number of economists here.
In some situations size really does matter.
Eric goes on to say,
How did America make it work? The Economist's R.A.:If buy-in from important economists matters then we are in big trouble as we simply don't have any here. If on the other hand it is the "aggressive horde of strivers" that matters, then we are in trouble again because as noted above our horde is just too small. If Europe can't do it, what chance for NZ?
How did America's economics blogosphere develop the necessary density? Early buy-in by important economists mattered, but the growth of the community has been more driven, in my opinion, by an aggressive horde of strivers. Economists, journalists, and would-be pundits with less access to traditional outlets (newspapers, conferences, and journals) were attracted by the low barriers to entry of the web. This ready group of writers created sufficient "liquidity" of opinion to drive an effective conversation, the value of which has subsequently pulled in other respected voices.
None of this mean we don't want more economists blogging, more economists can only raise the standard of economic commentary here in New Zealand. The big question is how to get them to take it up. May be having a blog should be a requirement for getting a PhD in econ!!