With only a dozen posts on my macromom blog, a year in review is unnecessary ... so this is a thank YOU and a bit of reflection. Turns out writing a blog post was a bit like being pregnant. When you're pregnant, you suddenly notice pregnant people everywhere (or at least I did with my two kids) ... same with the topics I blogged on. I kept on learning after getting more engaged in the topic. Plus, I felt mildly ill and drained after writing each post ... though happy in the end for blogging.
My Most Read Post: "why distrust data" (Oct 15th). In this post, I was trying to think through reasons why so many people say that they don't believe economic statistics ... with an eye toward how the wielders of data might be complicit in this lack of trust. To be honest, this post of mine got the most clicks because Paul Krugman linked to it. He took his post in different direction than I did, but just getting in bigger "the conversation" was fun. I still think economists need to grapple more with how data does and doesn't shape beliefs. Just tonight on Twitter, I saw a new post by Catherine Rampell on beliefs in conspiracy theories.
Post I Regret Writing: "women and econ blogs" (July 29th). One of the many bits of good advice that my undergrad economics advisor, Sohrab Behdad, gave me was don't be too close emotionally to the topics you study ... because it's hard to keep perspective. Of course, you only know advice is good once you ignore it, right? I applaud the efforts to increase diversity in the economics profession (on many, many dimensions) ... and I found some excellent blogs by female economists after writing this post (new faves in my RSS feed is Gender Matters by S Anukriti and on Twitter is Beatrice Cherrier). BUT this was not a good post for me to write. Live and learn.
Post I Needed to Write: "age is more than just a number" (July 9th). This time ten years ago I was anxiously prepping for my first job interviews at the econ annual meetings. My job market paper was on whether risk tolerance changes over time. You may be skeptical of the survey measures I used (I've got some scathing referee reports and bruises from the job market along those lines), but the decline in willingness to take risks with age was pretty damn robust. Plus it shows up in other studies too. This blog post, ten years later, was trying to think through broader economic effects of population aging. Soon thereafter some new working papers on aging came out, such as this and this. I don't want to oversell the role of aging (and others made similar points before me) but I think demographics are underappreciated in macro.
My Least Read Post: "feelings ... maybe it's the economy" (July 3rd). This, my first post was me pushing back on Ben Bernanke's claim that political polarization as opposed to the problems in the economy was the main source of dissatisfaction. I couldn't figure out how to make my points with my Twitter account, so I decided to try blogging again (my first attempt a few years ago was cut short by work concerns). This debate over the Zeitgeist raged on, with Matt Yglesias pooh poohing "economic anxiety" and Chris Arnade railing against an economy rigged in favor of "front row kids." Mono-causal explanations surely fall short but I still feel like the economy played a role in ways that economists (myself included) did not anticipate or even understand well.
So that was a quick review of my three most read and one least read blog posts. I am grateful for the readers on all my posts, the comments, critiques, and encouragement. Blogging is a funny thing. On the one hand, it seems like an individual effort ... my free time spent crafting posts, my opinions. (I missed, and you did too, the editing I normally get on my writing at work. My FEDS Notes are also short but way more coherent than my macromom blog posts.) On the other hand, as with the sharing of any ideas, blogging is a big team effort ... First, my best "I thinks" on economics have benefited from many thoughtful colleagues and teachers. Second, folks online with a large econ following like Paul Krugman, Mark Thoma, David Keohane, Brad DeLong, Noah Smith, Justin Wolfers,Tyler Cowen, Diane Coyle etc. play a big role in how blog posts get disseminated. The market for ideas can be as brutal and fickle and wrong as any market, but I can't think of a better way to do it. Trying to figure stuff out, getting corrected, and learning from others is the real reward here.
**Opinions here are mine and should not to be attributed to anyone with whom I work.**