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« Weighing the Week Ahead: Stick to the Facts | Main | What You Really Need to Know about Employment Data »

March 23, 2011

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Roman

The economic blog reading community is weighed heavily towards the "Tea-Party" crowd. And they gravitate to articles that affirm their beliefs. These beliefs are that the economy HAS to crash. It just MUST. It HAS TO!

Recently, Barry Ritholz made a post referencing the immense popularity of a post from an MIT professor predicting confidently that the Japanese reactors would not suffer any catastrophic failures. The blog post drew HUGE amounts of traffic eventhough, as Barry pointed out, the actual guy who wrote the post had no expertise in nuclear science.

But that didn't matter to the "conservatives" that read these blogs. They wanted an affirmation that nuclear energy is safe and stupid liberals are overreacting. And this post did the trick.

Of course, I am not saying anything that hasn't been said many times by other media commentators. People have and will continue to gravitate heavily to news sources that affirm what they believe rather than what the truth is. The "Golden Age of Journalism" with the Tom Brokaws and the Walter Cronkites for better or worse is dead and it was the exception rather than the rule. Newspapers have always had the clear biases of their editors and owners. We are just reverting back to the normal now.

oldprof

lurking -- good points. Someone should try drawing a few curves so that people can see what inelastic demand really means. Maybe I should do it:)

Thanks,

Jeff

lurking again

I tend to lol at any bond analysis that doesn't include mention of pension funds, life insurers, and p&c companies. You mention the size of the market and I mention some of the larger players ... their demand is very inelastic for a variety of reasons ...

oldprof

Lou - I am not trying to pick on any specific author. My reaction was actually inspired by someone who was on TV. I cite the SA list just to illustrate the public preference for getting their economics from non-economists.

I read a number of the top 20 because they raise interesting points. I try to note the background and experience of each source.

That is what I recommend for every reader. For these reasons I do not want to post a list or to imply that I think people should read one source versus another.

I could have made the same point by citing the most popular "economic" blogs from any other list.

Thanks for helping me to clarify this.

Jeff

oldprof

Jeff - Economists disagree about many things. These may be honest disputes related to differing methods or models. Sometimes the disagreement is more political.

There are some topics related to basic tools and methods where there is widespread, nearly universal agreement. In the matter of market microstructure, the basic tenets of how to derive a demand curve, and the implications therefrom, you will not find dissent.

I am suggesting that we should all identify and accept certain principles and conclusions rather than dismiss all economists because they sometimes disagree.

Your point about possible biases is also well taken.

Thanks,

Jeff

Jeff

good insights. I think you need to go deeper though. For example, Krugman is an economist and Luis Zingales is an economist, but neither would agree with the other.

Economists should clearly state their biases. Are they salt water or fresh water. Makes a difference in what they say.

lou

Good post Jeff!

Can you post the top 20 referred to and include the two who have creds please? Thanks.

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