Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Favorite Blogs

I have noticed in recent days that when people first read my blog, they often immediately ask me to recommend another blog. This is somewhat unsettling. My preferred interpretation is, "Your blog is so wonderful -- indeed it has so quickly transformed and enriched my life -- that I'd now like to explore other blogs as well."  There is also a less-favorable interpretation.

Either way, I'm happy to oblige. I read many blogs in principle, but few in practice. Historically it's just laziness. Presently, now that I'm writing No Hesitations, I can claim that it's intentional, like a composer not wanting to listen to the radio. But actually it's just laziness. Anyway, here are a few favorites.

My discovery of the moment is Greg Laughlin's blog, Systemic.  No, it's not about systemic risk in financial markets; rather, it's about characterizing planetary systems. Greg is a fascinating astrophysicist, chair of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz, and a master of astrophysical simulation. But that's just his day job. At night he's an equally fascinating econo-physicist, studying trading at the speed of light (literally; see for example his recent "Information Transmission..." paper), and developing rich insights into the nature of price discovery in financial markets. I'd love to lock Greg in a room with Joel Hasbrouck for a day; who knows what amazing insights might emerge.  (In case you're wondering: A month ago I had never heard of Greg.  I met him at UCSC when I gave a lecture there a few  weeks ago.  Thanks very much to Eric Aldrich for making the introduction.)

I like Greg Mankiw's Blog, by none other than Greg Mankiw.  Obviously I don't like it for its clever title.  Rather, I like it because it's warm and friendly, like a fireside chat, accessible to all, including students -- yet packed with interesting observations.  It's just fun, and like Greg himself, basically impossible to dislike.

I like Econbrowser, by Jim Hamilton and Menzie Chinn. Nothing escapes their radar, or their analysis.  And here's an item from the Strange but True Department: At least when I last asked, which was many years after they started the blog, Jim and Menzie had still never met in person. Only in the digital age!

I like The Grumpy Economist, by John Cochrane. It's full of useful news and insightful analysis, and Cochrane's views are often close to mine, so what's not to like?  I also admire his fine prose. When I read Cochrane, it's as if he's looking across a table straight at me, talking passionately, with the "Cochrane twinkle" in his eye.  If you do nothing else today, you must read (or re-read) two things.  First, read his  "Comments on the Milton Friedman Institute Protest Letter".  It's cliché to say that you just can't make this stuff up, but really, you just can't make this stuff up.  Second, read his "How Did Paul Krugman Get it so Wrong?" (a response to Krugman’s New York Times Magazine article, "How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?").

Speaking of John Cochrane and Paul Krugman, Cochrane may be interested (shocked?) to know that Krugman is my all-time favorite.  In the next post, I'll explain why.