Why Are There So Few Female Econ Bloggers?
In answering this question, Claudia Sahm omits what I think is the real answer. Econ blogging is low-status.
Let’s say you’re a female professor at a university somewhere. Your entire academic and professional career has revolved around and will continue to revolve around your search for legitimacy in the eyes of others.
So, the next thing you do is go register littlemisseconblogger.wordpress.com…
Look around Ordinary Times, and you will note that this is a volunteer shop. Every last one of us is here either because we are a bot or because we enjoy it and can afford to. I am sure there are many women economists who would like blogging, but most can’t afford to. They can’t afford to let loose opinions that are less than thoroughly worked out. They can’t afford to get caught expressing a retrospectively embarrassing position. They can’t afford to spend time on work that isn’t peer reviewed and thus won’t get them credit.
Blogging does have its rewards, but they are primarily internal and come at the expense of those things that may entail greater rewards. Just because your day job is economics doesn’t mean economics blogging will create benefits that carry over to your career. I question whether even Tyler Cowen, the supreme commander of econ bloggers, feels his real-life academic economics career has been helped much by his economics blogging. Still worse off are the majority of bloggers who write into a stiff wind to no effect.
Blogging is time-consuming. It is more likely to detract from your reputation than enhance it. The blogging world has fat tails, and not in a good way. You are more likely to blog something offensive that gets you fired than you are to blog something great that opens up an opportunity that makes as big a positive impact on your career as losing your job would make a negative impact.
I have a friend who designs offshore oil platforms and also enjoys sailing yachts. Sailing functions in his life like econ blogging does for most academic economists. It’s an expensive habit that can only be justified through your enjoyment of it.