The sites that dominated the economics blogosphere

Several years ago I posted the results of an analysis of top economics sites. I’ve redone that work a bit differently, this time with the data on Github. This time the analysis is purely of the curation done on economist Mark Thoma’s blog during the 2010s: the result is ~14,000 links that he recommended. Here’s some background on Thoma and his blog that also explains why analyzing it is useful.

So first some results, then a few more lists and observations… The top domains in this dataset:

The first thing to note is just how big a deal blogs were. Obvious if you were reading stuff back then, but just a few years later it’s striking! Blogspot, Typepad, and WordPress all make the top domains list because they hosted blogs by individual economists or small groups of them.

I hand-coded the top 60 domains and 23 of them are blogs or blog-hosting platforms. Weighted by how many individual links there are in the dataset, and restricting it just to those top 60 domains I hand-coded not the full list, 43% of links are to blogs.

Top blogs

Krugman’s blog tops the list at 542 links: that alone (not counting his columns) was 3.8% of the dataset. Author data isn’t perfect, but there are 218 other links with Krugman as author, including some non-NYT stuff and one Onion article. Combined, that puts him at 5.4% of the dataset.

No other economist is close to Krugman in terms of influence. But here are the blogs that come next, not counting group blogs at institutions like the New York Times or Federal Reserve.

Amazingly, these blogs all seem to still be going, and a couple of them I personally still read regularly.

Top media

The other big category in the top domains list is media. And here the New York Times dominates. I leave it to you to parse the cause-and-effect here vis a vis Krugman. Here are the top media sites:

DomainTitle
nytimes.com1906
ft.com640
project-syndicate.org435
washingtonpost.com251
economist.com241
bloomberg.com170
newyorker.com108

Top think tanks

DomainTitle
brookings.edu69
promarket.org68
cfr.org65
equitablegrowth.org60
piie.com38
epi.org37
bruegel.org32

Research

That leaves one last big category: research institutions. And here the basic list is: Voxeu, NBER, and the Federal Reserve. IMF makes the list, too, albeit a lot lower.

You can download the data for yourself here.

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