Although mainly discussing the quality of economics blogs focused on Macroeconomic issues, the Economist endorsed the blog-o-sphere as a productive forum for intellectual debate. To give it some historical context:
“Previous publishing revolutions, such as the advent of printing, prompted similar concerns about trivialisation and extremism. But whatever you think about the impact of blogging on political, scientific or religious debate, it is hard to argue that the internet has cheapened the global conversation about economics. On the contrary, it has improved it.”
Sure, writing an economics blog improves the quality of intellectual debates, but why do bloggers do it? Blogging takes time and resources away from other pursuits (e.g., publishing, other work, leisure). For only a few blogs does the ad revenue earned make up for the time spent working on the site.
One reasons blogging is attractive is that it helps the reputation of the blogger.
“Research (by two blogging economists at the World Bank) suggests that academic papers cited by bloggers are far more likely to be downloaded. Blogging economists are regarded more highly than non-bloggers with the same publishing record. Blogs…have also given voice to once-obscure scholars advancing bold solutions to America’s economic funk and Europe’s self-inflicted crisis.”
If blogging can help promote the intellectual debate of a boring topic like macroeconomics, imagine what it is doing for the much more interesting (in my completely unbiased opinion) debates surrounding health economic issues.