The State of the Econ Blogger

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation released its annual survey of economic bloggers today. The survey gives you an idea of who leading economics bloggers are and how they perceive the economy. Today’s backdoor taxes media gaffe is yet another reason to pay attention to what econ bloggers have to say.

Here’s a very basic overview of what the survey, which includes 85 respondents, found.

Who are leading econ bloggers?

Most bloggers devote their time to writing about government economic policies. This is followed by economic data and the stock market/Wall Street. Technology, entrepreneurship/small business, and corporate news come next. Foreign business is the least-covered topic.

Panelists were asked to describe their political affiliation, with the intent being to show
whether the panel has an ideological bias. We find that among the sixty-eight who answered
this question, nearly half consider themselves independent, with only 19 percent democrat
and 16 percent republican.

The last question asked economics bloggers to described their occupations and backgrounds.
These responses were not exclusive (meaning respondents could select one or more). Over half
who provided information (thirty-one) are university professors, fifteen are former or current
entrepreneurs, fourteen are professional journalists, and twenty-three have a Phd in economics.


How do bloggers perceive the state of the economy?

Most believe the economy’s performance is mixed. Government statistics tend to overrate economic performance. The budget deficit, interest rates, and inflation are all going up in the next year. Conditions for small business and bank lending are bad overall, while angel capital is the most hopeful proposition (but hardly; see graph below). Entrepreneurs and innovation are crucial to the health of the US economy. Labor unions are not.

I included some graphs from the results report below. If anything, this survey has convinced me even more that bloggers are filling a crucial gap in government policy, financial, and economics reporting. And to take that mainstream media optimism with a spoonful of salt.