There has always been a long discussion amongst academics as to whether blogging and research are substitutes or complements. The majority opinion is that they are substitutes. The evidence, at least when it comes to economists in Australia, appears to be the opposite.
Last night, we got two more data points. Andrew Leigh, who was formerly a contributor to this blog but before then one of the first Oz Econ Bloggers, was awarded the Economic Society of Australia’s Young Economist Award. The award is the Australian equivalent of the John Bates Clark medal in the US (although harder to win because it is awarded only once every two years).
To honour that Australian economist under the age of forty who is deemed to have made a significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge.
To say that Andrew was the ‘no brainer’ choice for this year’s award is an understatement. Prior to going into Parliament he was one of Australia’s most prolific and influential researchers. It was a loss to research when he went into politics but right now Australia’s best economist under the age of forty resides in Federal Parliament. This must be good for the country. Indeed, it is worth remarking that the only other two recipients of the Young Economist Award were both bloggers as well as researchers.
But last night the Economic Society also presented its Distinguished Fellow award:
To honour distinguished Australian economists for their contribution to the development of economics.
And the winner was John Quiggin. He is one of Australia’s most productive and well cited research economists and is, I believe, the economist with the longest running blog (starting in 2003). [Actually, I started then too with one post on the 1st January 2003 but there was a three year gap before I really started.]
Both awards are well-deserved and both send a signal to all and sundry that academic publishing with high international standards is very consistent with local policy influence. And, of course, I should add that both are co-authors of mine as well as good friends so I was, personally, extremely happy with yesterday’s news.