Happy almost New Year everyone!
As we head into 2012, here’s a look back at the most popular (by pageviews) posts from 2011. Federal budget issues dominate the list, but pizza, cupcakes, and North Korea also made the cut.
Why do half of Americans pay no federal income tax? (Spoiler: low incomes)
The day the United States defaulted on Treasury bills (In 1979, not 2011)
Six thoughts on taxes and small business (rhetoric vs. reality)
Five things you should know about the S&P downgrade (#5. S&P wasn’t 1st)
S&P’s $2 trillion error (oops)
Top posts in 2010
North Korea’s economic failure in one picture (“North Korea is dark.”)
The behavioral economics of leftover pizza (six slices are more filling than two)
Several posts from prior years also put in good showings:
The 50 most important economic theories and A list of the top 50 economic theories (search-engine optimized titles)
200 countries, 200 years, 4 minutes (Hans Rosling does his thing; watch again)
Cupcake economics (cupcakeries have done better than I guessed)
A good chunk of the economics blogging community is converging on Kansas City for the Kauffman Foundation’s third annual Economics Bloggers Forum. Folks on my flight included Tyler Cowen, Matt Yglesias, Dean Baker, Ryan Avent, Dan Mitchell, and Mark Perry.
In case you want to watch any of the proceedings live on Friday, here’s the announcement from Kauffman:
On Friday, April 1, the Kauffman Foundation will host the third annual Economics Bloggers Forum. The Forum brings together select economics, finance, and technology bloggers for an event in Kansas City to discuss key policy issues and cutting-edge research on topics related to entrepreneurship, innovation, and growth. It will feature a dozen talks by well-known bloggers, including Tyler Cower, Virginia Postrel, Felix Salmon, and Dean Baker. Although the event is not open to the public, the presentations will be live-streamed at www.kauffman.org/bloggers from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. central time. An agenda of speakers and times also is available on the site.
On Friday I will be speaking at the Kauffman Foundation’s second annual Economic Bloggers Forum. Naturally, the event will be webcast and you can submit questions online on the page with the speaker line-up. Panels will discuss the aftermath of the Great Recession, the prospects for growth in Haiti, Afghanistan, and Africa, and the daunting fiscal challenges facing the U.S.
Good news for international readers: Thanks to Google Translate, you can now read this blog in several dozen languages. Just click on the language you want in the box to the right.
(For those of you reading this via email, Google Reader, etc., here are some example links: German and Spanish.)
P.S. Kudos to the WordPress member who wrote the code for this.
My existential crisis is over. As of last Thursday, Google is again including this blog in its search results. So, welcome to all the new readers who’ve come here after Googling information on the Eggo shortage and the debate about whether kids should get one H1N1 shot or two.
This is probably of interest only to other bloggers, but for the record: When I first started this blog, it took about six weeks for it to appear regularly in Google search results. After several months, the blog inexplicably (to me, at least) disappeared from Google’s results. As in *really* disappeared; as one friend pointed out, you couldn’t even find it if you searched for “Donald Marron blog”. About eight weeks elapsed before it reappeared regularly in the first few pages of Google’s results.
My eight-week exile provided a nice natural experiment for evaluating Google’s importance. Not surprisingly, Google drives a good amount of traffic; readership is larger when Google knows about the blog. The more interesting impact, though, is a version of the Long Tail: with Google’s help, more posts find readers on any given day.
A strange this happened last week: Google misplaced my blog.
I’ve run all the usual diagnostics, and I can confirm that Google still knows that my blog exists. But it no longer appears in any of the searches – e.g., “natural gas price”, “unemployment”, “budget deficit”, or “brooke boemio” – that used to help new readers find posts on my site.
Things are so bad, in fact, that my blog doesn’t even come up when you search for “donald marron”. I feel an existential crisis coming on.
I presume this is just the result of some obscure algorithm tweak and that, over time, my posts will reappear in the ranks of the Google-worthy. But it’s fun to imagine that Google is mad at me for my posts criticizing the way it reports unemployment data.
I just checked and, no surprise, Google is still reporting the wrong data. If you search for “unemployment rate”, Google will tell you that the U.S. unemployment rate was 9.6% in August, when in fact it was 9.7%. Why the difference? Because Google is reporting an obscure measure of unemployment, not the one used by 99% of the world.
Welcome to my new blog. This is an experiment. I intend to use the blog to share thoughts on economics, finance, and, occasionally, life. But we will see how it evolves.
Feedback is appreciated. Please click on over to the contact form if you’d like to share any thoughts on the blog, on the economy, or if you would like to discuss speaking, writing, or consulting opportunities.
Also, please check out the email subscription and RSS feeds if you’d like to follow the blog in either of those ways.
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