Monday, 14 October 2013

Two years of blogging

This day marks the second birthday of the "Don't worry, I'm an economist" blog. Last year's celebration was marked by stressing out some of the best and most popular posts. Back then I reminded the readers on why I started the blog, and how I was happy to see the entire idea unfolding into a platform which I hope was clarifying the argument in favour of structural reforms and a strong institutional environment. I claimed that the crisis wasn't an aggregate demand shock but a structural shock building up on declining productivity and an inability to adapt to technological changes in the past few decades.


The essential message hasn't changed. However, the second year was marked by a wider variety of topics. 

The largest focus was again on the recovery (both in Europe and beyond), but this time I've put more emphasis on technology, institutions and political economy, all in the same goal of trying to emphasize the structural, institutional and political issues undermining the state of the world economy. Some of my own personal favourites (top 15) from last year include:
In addition to these there were many other interesting topics, inspiration for which was driven mostly by current events but also by a number of issues I found to be important.

By the end of the year the most popular topic were the US presidential elections (which I even made a few predictions on, most of them correct), followed by the unfolding of the fiscal cliff crisis (where my game theory predictions somewhat failed). This year I also decided to offer my new years predictions which I will go through by the end of this calender year to see how good I was as a forecaster (so far I was right about Merkel's victory, Britain's inability to achieve a robust recovery; I was partially right about Italy's elections, but too careful on Hollande in France; was spot on about Egypt, but couldn't foresee the turmoil in Turkey; and so far right about Japan and the slowdown of the emerging markets).

Furthermore, in addition to the usual budget analyses and the tracking of the recovery, I covered a range of issues from immigrationminimum wagesgrowth convergenceinternational tradethe optimal size of government, Croatia's EU entrylocal government stimulus, bureaucracyinequality (and the often underestimated issue of social mobility), and even had an interesting discussion on market monetarism

Then I switched to institutional topics by the end of the year (most of which I've already mentioned above), and technology, in particular the long term effect of disruptive technologies,  

Last month was the 5 year anniversary of the Lehman bankruptcy marking the official start of the financial crisis. I opened the coverage with a text on Fannie and Freddie's reemergence on the housing market, continued with an overview of some causes and implications of the crisis, topped it up with the end consequences and cross-country effects, and summed it all up with a graphical presentation of the effects on the financial markets. 

Some sad news also struck us during the past twelve months, including the deaths of Nobel Prize winning economists James Buchanan (in January) and Ronald Coase (in September), and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (in April), all of which I paid respect with an in memoriam. 

Last year I also attended the famous Public Choice Society conference (50th annual), and have written a couple of posts as reflections upon the conference. More importantly it was here where I had the opportunity to present my paper on political agency which received quite good reviews. It is still a work in progress (hopefully to be done by the end of the year!).

All together, it was a fruitful year, with slightly less articles published, but much more audience gained (by now the blog gets a modest visit rate of roughly 300 clicks p/day, or a bit over 9000 p/month). I'm happy with these numbers and will continue the writings on mutual satisfaction of both myself and the readers.  

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