Saturday, May 26, 2012

Economists and the General Public bias

Who is the most important economist nowadays? Logically depends on who you ask. Davis, Bob Figgins, David Hedengren and Daniel B. Klein asked 300 academic economists who is their favourite economist nowadays under 60 years old and below. Not surprisingly, results for nowadays economist under 60 years old showed the following list:
The top-16 list for economists older than 60 years old:
Davis et. al. paper also asked surveyed economists to quantified liberalism for some famous economist in a 1-4 scale. Results are shown in the last columns above. Then I wondered how close this list would be to the general public or general newspapers mentions. I couldn’t find a public survey on this so I took Google News tool and Google search tool results as a proxy. (I excluded Bernanke as he is more a political or public figure than economist) Using the liberalism variable and the differences of mentions between economists and general public I created the following chart to see if there is any bias of the general public in comparison to the economists. I measured the difference between economists and general public as the logarithm of GoogleNews mentions divided by Economists mentions but other measures like a direct substraction also showed the same results (though less significant).
To be honest I was expecting to see a u-form relation, I was expecting to see the general public mentioning more extremist economists (left side and right side of the political spectrum). Surprisingly, it seems that the general news corporations and the general public are more prone to mention left wing economists (low liberal score) than right wing economists. No idea why. Comments accepted.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Leaders' age 2

Long ago I wrote about the age of countries' leaders. I hoped to see a little increase in recent years but I only had data for 15 years and 4 countries. I found out the data myself which was a bit of a nightmare. Today, I want to show you a fascinating database: Archigos from Rochester University
"it contains information on the date and manner of entry and exit of over 3,000 leaders 1875 - 2004 as well as their gender, birth- and death-date, previous times in office and their post-exit fate"
and it is free! Is astonishing and it's in STATA format. So, I graphed again the evolution of world's leaders median age since 1875 till 2004 and the result is:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Blogging impact on authors

In March I wrote about blogging impact on academic papers. This the second part of it. Again I refer to an old post from World Bank Development Impact blog. This time Mckenzie and Ozler look at what impact blogs have on authors' relevance. Apparently blogs shouldn't have any influence on academic world. But surprisingly they do influence economists views:
Davis et al. (2011) conducted a survey of academic economists in the U.S., with 299 (15%) responding. The survey asked these academics to list up to three living economists over the age of 60 and up to three under the age of 60 who they “regard with great respect, admiration, or reverence”. Gary Becker, Ken Arrow and Robert Solow were the top choices among the over 60s, and Paul Krugman, Gregory Mankiw and Daron Acemoglu the top choices among the under 60s. The under 60s list of 23 names contains a number of regular bloggers – in addition to Krugman and Mankiw are Steven Levitt, William Easterly, Nancy Folbre, Dani Rodrik, and Tyler Cowen. We merge this list with a list of the top 500 economists according to the RePEc rankings (based on paper downloads, citations) and also code each of the RePEc top 500 according to whether they blog or not. This data is then used to estimate a probit model to see whether, conditional on RePEc ranking, individuals who blog are more likely to appear on the above list of favorite or admired economists. Table 2 shows the results, for the pooled sample in column 1, and separately for under 60 and over 60 economists in columns 2 and 3 respectively.

In all three columns we see that, conditional on their RePEc rank, regular blogging is strongly and significantly associated with being more likely to be viewed as a favorite economist. Blogging has the same size impact as being in the top 50 of RePEc rankings for the under 60 economists, and a larger impact for the over 60 economists. This evidence is thus consistent with the view that blogging helps build prestige and recognition in the profession, with bloggers being more likely to be admired or respected than other academics of similar (or in many cases better) publication records.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dynamic economics

Some amazing visualizations showing why studying clusters and city or regional economics is a difficult task. People's links are larger the more we zoom in and that is why is easier to analyse countries' GDP than to analyse cities' GDP. The economy is a dynamic concept while geography or location are a static concept.

Deluge from even westvang on Vimeo.

Taxi! from Juan Francisco Saldarriaga on Vimeo.