I don’t need to be convinced about the joys of blogging

But maybe you still need a reason to jump in?

This morning I came across three nice posts describing blogging as academic break dancing, the vitues of blogging and a proposal for blogging for promotion. Here are some nice bits:
From the blog Transition times:

All I can tell you is that it’s been a long time since I’ve felt as intellectually engaged as I do now that I’ve started blogging again.

Blogging–and publicizing my posts via Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other social media outlets–has allowed me to connect with people I never would have been able to reach in any other way.

Previously if I wanted to convey an idea or a research finding, my choices were limited to a conference paper or journal article or, if I could work it up, a book. These choices still remain, but in addition I can create a video, podcast, blog post, slidecast, and more. It may be that a combination of these is ideal—a blog post gets immediate reaction and can then be worked into a conference presentation, shared through SlideShare, or turned into a paper that is submitted to a journal. In each case the blog or social network becomes a key route for sharing and disseminating the findings.

From Greg Downey writing on a blog about Neuroanthropology:

But we can also act locally, serving as a body of peers for each other’s reviews.  As an online anthropology writer on Neuroanthropology, and commenter and participant in discussions in lots of online forums, you may very well be precisely the sort of person who is my ‘peer’ if you’re reading this.  So why not crowd source our letters of reference to make the case for the importance of our online publishing? 

congestion tax, road pricing, SANRAL

More on e-tolls

With all the media coverage of  “The Spear” painting last week, government’s Constitutional Court appeal against the interdict that has temporarily halted the e-toll project did not receive much air time. Minister Gordhan has also been saying that the government is exploring alternatives to funding the Gauteng road improvements. With the story rolling on, I thought that I should post a few views:
behavioral economics, Busara Centre, experiments, exports, Small business, SME. SMME

Behavioral economics

I found this cool post at Marginal Economics over the weekend. It describes the Busara Centre of Behavioral Economics and what they offer development economics researchers through experiments in their lab. Now I’m just mailing this idea to myself: we need a lab like this for firm-level research in South Africa. Surveys are expensive and time consuming and we may also learn a lot about firms and entrepreneurs in an experimental setup.I know that Prof Wim Naudé at MsM has been thinking about this too.

Does anyone out there know more about firm-level research and the ways that experiments have been used to examine questions related to entrepreneurship, risk-return, deciding to export or to hire more people?

CGE models, e-book, Kindle

Publishing a Kindle e-book

A blog is one way to write about the latest research, but the rule for a good one is that it should be similar to a mini skirt: long enough to be proper, short enough to be interesting. Every now and then one wants to get the whole story out there. In academic circles that could be via a working paper, journal article or chapter in a book. An alternative process that I have recently been a part of is to publish your own Kindle e-book.

My colleague Riaan Rossouw and I have a paper that gives an overview of the history of CGE modelling in South Africa. The work was part of Riaan’s Master’s dissertation and I was the supervisor. The trouble is that the dissertation is not an effective way to disseminate results. Anyone who is interested have to request it via their university’s inter-library loan desk, get it days or weeks later and keep it for two weeks before snail mailing it back. We think that students, researchers and policymakers should be interested to know more about the issues and the CGE models used to examine them in South Africa, but journal editors do not care much for reviews. Economics journals want current analysis with new results for their readers. History journals want more about the people and the context, of for example the trade negotiations in which CGEM’s were used in the mid-1990’s, but in our case this is impossible to get from published accounts. Thus we decided to make our overview available through the e-book option.

Over the past few months Riaan took the lead, formatted the Kindle Single and engaged with Amazon’s publishing service. The end result is now available online and we are very happy. The work is out there and available for everyone to download and read. For a specific type of academic content the e-book is the future!


Econ geography in the news

I am slowly revising an article for resubmission and not really writing the posts that I want to. But here are some links to interesting things in the news that I have been reading: