Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thoughts on Blogging

It is hard work, especially if one has worked through the weekend. That "one" is Echidne who is very tired and whose special creative energy channel is blocked by bits of unfinished tasks (clean the yard already! the scillas are suffocating). And there indeed is a form of creative energy, as in pure energy which lends itself better to folding and twisting in a particular way. The other energies don't work as well. It's like harnessing a chicken to pull your wagon.

Which takes me to a month-old post asking why so few women in the economics profession have blogs:
REPEC provides an objective measure of who is "Royalty" in the economics profession. The current list of the top 5% is here. I am ranked #681 out of 27,365 economists so that's not bad (and my 3 books aren't counted here). But, here is the interesting part. There are 39 women who rank in the top 1000 and 0 of them blog. Contrast that with the men. Consider the top 100 men. In this elite subset; at least 8 of them blog. Consider the men ranked between 101 and 200. At least, six of them blog. So, this isn't very scientific but we see a 7% participation rate for excellent male economists and a 0% participation rate for excellent women. This differential looks statistically significant to me. I have searched for Nancy Folbre among the top 1369 economists (the 5% cutoff) and she is not counted in the elite subset.
How do you resolve this puzzle? A Household Production Theory of leisure would posit that men have more leisure time than working women and that nerdy guys spend more time reading and writing blog posts (such as this one). If women who work are also providing more time in "home production" in cooking and rearing children then the time budget constraint will bind.
Or would you argue that men are less mature than women and require immediate gratification and blog posts offer such ephemeral pleasure?
What the blogger, Matthew Kahn, says here is that women let an important tool in their self-promotion package go unused and that the reason might be how women do the work at home (child care!!!) as well as at work, or perhaps men are just more immature. Also, I don't think there is any "objective" list of the royalties in any profession, because those lists always depend on what is picked to create them. But that's not so important as the question Kahn poses.

What I'd like to get from him are the following bits of information: Are all those one thousand top-ranked economists full professors with tenure? What are their ages? Do they have private secretaries? Have they essentially completed the work on which their reputations will rest?

We would need this information on the whole top one thousand and more, to add to the ideas Kahn mentions. Women are less likely to be full professors than men, for example, and women are probably, on average, younger on the top level than men, what with entering the field in large numbers somewhat later. This means that they may still be very active in doing academic research. The access to various kinds of resources is also something which would affect the time available for blogs.