Muses of Blogging

Noah Smith posted a list of his "Heroes of Blogging." For Noah-

"These are the bloggers not just whose blogs I enjoy - there are a huge number of those - but who I think are using their blogs to do something really unique, invaluable, and positive for the world."

In a twitter exchange, Noah elaborated-

I decided to emulate Noah (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery), but with less acclaim. These are my "muses of blogging." I have no idea whether they are doing something invaluable or positive for the world.

Yet, I read everyday, because these blogs inspire me. So this is a simple list of the bloggers who inspire me as a blogger and economist. I think they will inspire others and hopefully they are changing the world for the better.

Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson- They started their blog to promote Why Nations Fail, which is about the importance of political institutions. By blogging, they show that top academic researchers at the height of their academic careers (compared to Krugman who is past his peak) can still engage broader audiences. Even though they do not engage to the level of most bloggers with comments and responses, seeing their musings on topics which are not already published is a constant inspiration for blog posts and scholarly research.

Peter Boettke

Pete Boettke- He is the most frequent blogger at one favorite blog, Coordination Problem, and posts on political economy and the market-process. These are my two main interests within economics and Boettke is always a source of inspiration. Constantly, Boettke reminds me that economics is an important topic to pursue passionately. The blog also includes career advice for someone pursuing scholarly economics from an Austrian tilt.

John Cochrane- At my heart, I am a microeconomist. Micro makes more sense to me. However, most of the best blog debates are about macroeconomics. Cochrane writes so that even I can understand what he is saying. I think he is the clearest macroeconomist online. His posts on New Keynesian vs. Old Keynesian stimulus were ah-ha moments for me. He does not shy away from extremely complex ideas and still works to make them understandable to dummies like me. His posts include everyday language and complex equations. It is a rare talent. Also, as a top-tier academic, it is fun to see him battle with other economists. Part of the fun in economics are the debates and debates should be heated, though respectful. Cochrane follows this approach.

Jonathan Finegold- My blog is almost a poor imitation of Jonathan's. Most clearly, my chapter by chapter summaries follow directly from his posts on Keynes' General Theory. He is a young guy with an open mind who is trying to genuinely work through economic ideas. He comes from an Austrian point of view, but does not reject Krugman or Keynes without trying to first understand them. Instead, he works through the ideas and then tried to refute them without allegiance to any school of thought.

David D. Friedman

David Friedman- While he blogs about economics less than I like, I always enjoy David Friedman's posts. He is a clear writer and ruthlessly applies economic logic and admits what are truly difficult questions that he does not have an answer for. If I do not think David Friedman would understand my economic reasoning, it is probably because my reasoning is bad and needs updating. His posts on law and legal systems are superb and different from any blog I have ever read. I have learned more about Muslim law in the law few months than I ever imagined. Also, he blogs about nerdy stuff like WoW, which also keeps me happy.

Tim Harford- I almost feel bad putting him on this list. In many ways, economics blogs enjoy being a small isolated group. We are a band of loners fighting against the outside world who fails to listen. Yet, Harford is HUGE. His books are popular and his blog probably gets more views than all the others on this list combined. I have to put him, because no one is a better writer when explaining basic microeconomics principles. Almost everyone else on this list is an economist first. Harford is a journalist and it shows in his quality. When I feel myself writing like an economist, which is not a compliment, I read more of his blog (or Deirdre McCloskey, David Friedman, Steven Landsburg).

English: Head shot of economist Robert P. Murphy

Robert Murphy- Free Advice might have been my first exposure to the "econ blogosphere." After reading books and watching lectures by Murphy, I somehow ended up and his site and it has been in my RSS feed ever since. He keeps economics light-hearted and fun. He is the best Austrian at dismantling non-Austrian macro. He is open-minded and thoughtful. Yet, he is not afraid to challenge the orthodoxy, whether within Austrian or neoclassical economics. He continues to learn and grow as an economist, compared to many who seem to have the answer and now are just letting other people in on the secret. Plus, he openly blogs about Christ in a blogging world which generally is hostile to the Word. Keep up the fight, Bob.

Noah Smith- Noah is the original economics student blogger. He invented the sport. He was one of my original inspirations after one of my professors started talking about a punk-kid who was blogging. While economics is important, life is also supposed to be fun. Noah always keeps people reminded of it. Some people are probably turned off by his humor. If you can handle the snark, it is enjoyable.  If you are patient, you will learn some stuff some finance and macro.

Mark Skousen

Mark Skousen- Most econ bloggers and followers might find this one strange. Mark is not a popular blogger and does not blog often. However, his blog was one of the first I discovered. His book, Economics on Trial, was the first economics book I read. I'm sure I understood none of it, but he was my original muse. For this, I always make sure to follow his blog and his monthly posts are enjoyable. He is an original thinker with inspirations from Austrians and Chicago-school and he works to integrate them. The BEA is putting his idea for a new measure of national wealth into practice. His statistic is clearly inspired Austrian capital theory, although not internet Rothbardians. 

Simon Wren-Lewis- I discovered his blog rather late, but thoroughly enjoy it. There is nothing flashy about his blog, Mainly Macro. There are no goofy pictures or snarky comments. Instead, he just clearly discusses macro questions with an emphasis on policy. Every post tackles tough questions. Whenever I see a post by him, I know I will learn something. He is another one of the macro writers who makes me feel like I understand what he is saying, though I rarely completely agree.

I hope there are bloggers on this list that you do not follow, but you will start. They will challenge, teach, and inspire you in 2014. They did so for me in 2013.

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