I think a quote from a conversation I had with a friend says it best:
Peter: So, you want to combine urbane cultural discourse with economics and social criticism in a witty, mature, interesting way that people will read and pay you for?
(You can tell which of us here is actually trained in writing. I will also admit that not all of my jokes are of the mature variety.)
Because hey, who doesn’t want to do it with models? (See here for the origin of the site name.) Seriously though…my original blog grew out of a need to address student questions that were of economic relevance but somewhat outside the scope of an “Economics 101″ type course. Since then, my postings have gotten more broad and less technical in order to appeal to a wider audience. I feel it is very difficult to make intelligent policy decisions (or vote intelligently, for that matter) without having at least a basic understanding of economic theory and its applications. Even as an individual- consumer, employee, etc.- a knowledge of economics is essential, and, as such, I try to write with a general (non-economist) audience in mind. Therefore, despite the title of the blog, I try to avoid complicated graphs and abstract math as much as possible, though a qualitative diagram (see below) often manages to creep in. I also try to be marginally entertaining, since I really doubt that there are many people out there who like to read textbooks (or anything resembling such items) in their free time. (I will admit, however, that the humor level of the posts varies with both the subject matter and my mood!)
To make my points in as lighthearted a manner as possible, I tend to use, among other things:
- Comics, usually of the somewhat nerdy variety
- Graphs, hand drawn, sometimes in crayon
- Photos, usually taken with my phone
- Pop culture references, taken from various sources and usually out of context, but they give a little window into my world
- Video clips, often from SNL/South Park/CNBC…oh wait, that last one isn’t supposed to fit in with the other two, but somehow it works
- Songs, though sadly they don’t come along very often
I don’t really focus on one subject, but my choices of topics tend to lean towards incentives and behavioral economics, since that is what I study. A decent amount of policy discussion also creeps in since, well, it’s important. I also probably focus more than necessary on the sports and media industries (especially music) since they’re sexier than cars or timber. (Insert “wood” joke here) I try to put my examples into the general context of my daily life (insert TMI warning here) to drive home the point that economics really is everywhere. You can expect approximately one new post per day, since the posts tend to be decently in depth, and I would encourage you to focus on the word “approximately” here, since I haven’t yet figured out how to get new material to come to me at a steady and manageable pace. (I also don’t want to water down post quality in order to be able to say that I produce something every day. You will notice that sometimes I will update posts via comments…you can tell when this happens via the “recent comments” section on the right sidebar. I’m econgirl, in case that wasn’t clear.) If you want to know when new posts come out automatically, you can either subscribe to the RSS feed or become a fan on Facebook.
Now that I’ve gotten this one-woman operation up and running somewhat, I plan to introduce some new features for your viewing pleasure. My main upcoming project is to do a series of videos to explain and illustrate the concepts taught in an Econ 101 type course. I planed on timing these videos so that they come out in lock step with the order that the material is presented in a semester course…but, well, they actually take forever, so I’m trying to get through them as quickly as I can and see what happens. My hope is that students will find it valuable and entertaining to have a secondary source to reference in their studies, and that people who feel they didn’t learn econ well the first time have an opportunity for a do over.
If you have suggestions for other features, don’t hesitate to let me know. (econgirl at economistsdoitwithmodels dot com) Also, if you are an economics educator, I would love to hear from you regarding how EDIWM can be helpful to you in your curriculum.
Because I am hoping to develop an audience of repeat customers (I know I see a lot of interesting web sites that I never end up going back to, and it’s a little sad), I have implemented a number of subscription-type features to help out with that without being too intrusive. (You can also see these at the links to the right.)
- RSS/Atom Feed – If you use an RSS reader (Google Reader, etc.), you can click here directly and add EDIWM posts to your subscriptions. This works with all of the popular RSS readers, so you don’t have to open up the reader and add the site manually. The feed shows full posts and is ad-free.
- Comments Feed – see above, but for comments on EDIWM posts
- Posts by Email – You can choose to receive a daily email with new EDIWM posts. You email isn’t used for any other purpose, and you won’t end up on any strange mailing lists for male enhancement or anything, at least not because of me.
- Comments by Email – see above, but for comments on EDIWM posts
- Facebook Public Profile – If you join here, links to new posts (as well as pictures, a few choice status updates and random funny items) show up in your Facebook News Feed.
- Facebook Group – I put links to new posts on the Economists Do It With Models group page, and people also seem to like discussing random stuff there. Besides, it’s kind of funny to have “Economists Do It With Models” in your group list, no?
- Twitter Feed – I put links to new posts in the Twitter feed, and I also put random updates for my friends and readers.
There is also of course the option of simply bookmarking the page in your web browser, but I am clearly too nerdy to settle for just that.
In an ideal world, my audience would be composed of both people who are interested in economics and people who don’t trust what economists have to say. Up to this point, however, I am pretty sure that my readership is of the former sort, since I am not smart enough to figure out what Google AdWords to target for people who dislike economists. (Protectionism? Rush Limbaugh? Wife Swap? ) As such, I hope that you, as readers, can help spread the word and help me show that not all economists are old stodgy men stuck in their ivory towers…