Today marks the first anniversary of this blog. What began with a high degree of uncertainty — I have never been able to maintain a diary — and began with the following awkward paragraph
While economists-cum-bloggers seem to be in excess supply, the shadow value of this blog need not be zero. As an economist interested in development economics and law and economics and whose focus is on agricultural development policy, I also hope to offer a unique contribution to the policy debate
has turned out to be my best professional year so far.
Indeed, as a result of blogging and tweeting, I have made several new friends and acquaintances, had several opportunities to speak publicly about my research, and considerably improved my writing.
Moreover (and this was completely unexpected), blogging has forced me to think very carefully about many cutting-edge issues in development policy. This has both generated new research ideas and helped me refine research ideas I’d had prior to blogging. An example of the former is my work on food riots — I would never have thought to study that topic had I not been blogging about food prices and asked myself whether they could really cause social unrest.
Blogging is not costless. Researching and writing posts takes about three hours every week, and I have to pay a small sum every year to use this domain name and to host my blog. But so far, the return on my investment has been much better than I expected a year ago.
Year-End Blog Statistics
In terms of the usual blog metrics, I think this first year of blogging has been reasonable. As of writing, this blog has had 29,911 pageviews (or 28,950 if I subtract the 961 pageviews from students viewing the course web page for my development seminar) in 2011. On average, one
unique visitor visit translates into 1.5 pageviews.
My five most popular posts were:
- Pretending to Be Poor, on the Baland et al. paper of the same name in Economic Development and Cultural Change.
- Thoughts on the RCT Debate, in which I presented my views on the pros and cons of randomized controlled trials.
- Methodological Convergence in the Social Sciences, in which I discussed the increasingly porous boundaries between disciplines in the social sciences.
- Seven Billion People on Earth: Enough with the Fear Mongering, in which I expressed a great deal of skepticism at neo-Malthusian ideas, and which was linked to by Andrew Sullivan.
- Why “Gas Strikes” Make Absolutely No Sense, in which I explained why the idea of a one-day “gas strike” accomplished nothing.
Beyond the usual suspects (i.e., Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), the top sources of traffic for this blog were:
- Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish
- Chris Blattman’s blog
- Google+ (you read that right, I still have a hard time believing it, too…)
- Kim Yi Dionne’s haba na haba blog, and
- Michael Roberts’ Greed, Green and Grains blog.
I am very grateful for every single reader, so thank you very much for taking the time to read what I write. I am also very grateful for every referral, so thank you very much for linking to this blog. My best wishes of happiness and health to everyone for 2012!