segunda-feira, 31 de outubro de 2011

O impacto dos blogues económicos

Tendo por referência o "paper" "The Impact of Economics Blogs" (veja também aqui), de David McKenzie and Berk Ozler, Lawrence Addad, Director do Institute of Development Studies (Reino Unido) faz esta interessante reflexão sobre os blogues económicos, em que destaco as seguintes conclusões:

"1. Do they affect the dissemination of economics research? (Yes.)

They note that RePEc (Research Papers in Economics-a collaborative effort of hundreds of volunteers in 75 countries to enhance the dissemination of research in economics) working paper downloads increase by 20-30 fold after a paper has been mentioned on a popular blog. More formally they regress abstract views on papers mentioned in the top 50 blogs and allow for lags and reverse causality and find big impacts of blog mentions on views.

2. Do they affect the reputation of their creators? (Yes.)

Here they use a list of most admired economists (derived from a poll of US academics) and combine that with the top 500 economists in terms of RePEc downloads. The run a probit regression (1=on admired list, 0 not) and try to explain that with variables such as whether the economists regularly blog and where they rank in the RePEc download ratings. It turns out that those who blog regularly are more admired than their RePEc ratings would suggest (although people are surely admired for more than their writing--whether articles or blogs!).

3. Do they change attitudes of readers or lead to their increased knowledge? (Yes.)

Here the authors used the launch of their own blog (Development Impact) on April 2011 to randomise encouragement to read the blog among other researchers. They did a baseline and follow up. As they note their study design has good internal validity (i.e. it is good at assessing whether their blog has an impact) but that they can say less about other blogs (less strong external validity) although they argue that their blog is not atypical of other blogs (although it is a World Bank blog).

They find that those encouraged to read the blog (the treatment group) were more likely to be interested in working as a researcher at the World Bank, had a more positive perception of the World Bank's research quality, were more aware of the authors of the blog, relaxed their perceptions that World Bank staff face censorship over blogs and changed their opinions on the effectiveness of different interventions.

4. Do they influence policy? (Don't know, probably yes)

This is the part of the paper that has the weakest evidence base and is essentially a search for stories which cannot be verified. The bloggers interviewed cannot put their finger on specific policies changed as a result of their blogs, but then again that is not how policy works. A better strategy would be to see how widely policymakers read blogs. But the strong suspicion has to be if policymakers are influenced by research, and if the blogs are any good, the blogs should enhance the likelihood of research being influential)."

Em síntese, os blogues económicos têm hoje uma importância crescente em vários dimensões da activividade económica, a que acrescentaria ainda, "sobretudo nas sociedade mais desenvolvidas" .