Thursday, July 16, 2009

Surprisingly lively form of entertainment

What could that be? Answer: Economics blogs.

Americans trying to understand the nail-biting financial trauma of the past several months are flocking by the millions to a surprisingly lively source of enlightenment: blogs written by economists.
The result is a watershed moment for economics bloggers, ranging from academics to armchair economists, who are all too happy to help readers fill in the blanks—or find a place to vent their frustrations. Traffic to the top sites, such as Marginal Revolution, Freakonomics and the blogs from academics such as Paul Krugman, Greg Mankiw and Brad DeLong, surged anywhere from 80% to 250% from July to September 2008 as the financial crisis intensified, according to, a Web site that measures Internet traffic. The most popular blogs can attract as many as 50,000 to 100,000 page views a day.
But could there be too much of a good thing? Some Chinese parents think so:
Internet addiction has become a growing problem in China, where officials believe as many as four million people spend more than six hours a day online.

Several clinics have sprung up, offering parents the chance to "cure" their children of the
uncontrollable urge to blog or play online games.

Tao Ran, from the Beijing Military General Hospital, runs a camp which gives addicts a mixture of counselling, military discipline and hypnosis.

However, a psychiatric hospital in Linyi, Shandong, charged parents £500 a month to apply "xingnao", or "brain-waking", electric shocks to their children.

Some children suffered painful burns, but no parents had complained, according to the Chinese press.

Nevertheless, the health ministry has asked all hospitals to stop "electrical stimulation" for internet addiction while the treatment is investigated.
Emphasis added.

Here are some publicly available economics blog rankings:

1. EconDirectory

2. Palgrave


4. Bankling

5. Wikio



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