Rossana Weitekamp, 516-792-1462, email@example.com
Barbara Pruitt, Kauffman Foundation, 816-932-1288, firstname.lastname@example.org
Economics experts speak out on public policy, entrepreneurship and the challenges of print journalism
(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) Feb. 27, 2009 – Taking their provocative online discussions face to face, leading U.S. economics bloggers are attending the first Economics Bloggers Forum at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation today. The experts will share perspectives on the business of blogging and the most pressing topic of the day: the economy.
"These leading economists and bloggers have never met as a group before," says Bob Litan, vice president of Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation and an author of the Kauffman Foundation's economic blog, Growthology.org. "We are holding this forum to stimulate new ideas, new thinking and new policies that support the entrepreneurship and innovation so critical to our economic recovery. While it's not clear yet how blogs influence public policy, this is a fertile area for study and discussion."
Tim Kane, senior fellow in Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation and an author of Growthology.org, says he expects lively conversations on everything from "the disruptive technology of blogging itself, to innovation in a recessed global economy, to financial Armageddon."
As a preview to those conversations, the Kauffman Foundation invited bloggers to answer a number of questions about their views on the practice of blogging and its influence on economic policy, research and journalism, and how the recession is impacting entrepreneurship and innovation.
When asked about the impact of blogs, Jeff Cornwall, who holds the Jack C. Massey Chair in Entrepreneurship at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. responded:
"I am amazed at the international interest in entrepreneurship as a driver of economies around the globe. I thought my blog might have local or regional interest, but I draw about 20-25 percent of my traffic from outside the U.S. The passion for free enterprise around the world is inspiring."
But are economics blogs inspiring? Participants disagree on the impact their writing has on public policy. Mark Perry, a University of Michigan professor of economics and finance, cites a specific case where Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) used information presented on Perry's blog during a congressional hearing.
On the other hand, Robert X. Cringely, a blogging pioneer, says the typical impact is far less dramatic. "It annoys public policymakers and, to a certain extent, makes them think," says Cringely, "but I think the effect is still muted and the general press has the most impact—for now."
In terms of the general press, forum attendees were asked to consider the impact digital alternatives are having on the print media: "If print journalism is being destroyed, what exactly is being created?" The bloggers responded with everything from "chaos" to "a new Golden Age of journalism and media."
The keynote speaker for the Economics Bloggers Forum is David Warsh, author of economicprincipals.com, three books and a longtime columnist for The Boston Globe.
True to the blogging spirit, the forum discussions will be shared with the public. Additional survey results will be published soon after the event, and video casts of the three scheduled panel discussions will be published later in March. In addition, a mini-documentary featuring interviews with attendees will be posted on www.Growthology.org and www.kauffman.org.