Economics on the web
Economics on the web
Given the diffusion of the web, today it is very easy to acquire information about the economy of a country or a particular problem at no charge, or almost. However, there is simply too much information on the internet and searching for it with care, selecting the data which is really relevant, takes time, which represents money. The future of the web is in collecting information, filtering the great mass available and selecting the few things which are really relevant.
I'm told you become financial times everyone can see your intelligence Nouriel into Osito whereby a t-butyl danila Cinque a furtive lament avevo dr. jonov and every week a dirty commies either yes we can okay yes so as I was saying you know what essentially the internet allows us to have a dialogue in virtually are not here present physically but is one way in which technologies can help us to redirect on economic political and other issues my website before it became commercial started in 97-98 as a website about the Asian financial crisis suddenly countries have been growing very fast a long time we're all going belly-up and no one knew why academics did not know why Wall Street did not know why they I am asked not the why the credit rating agencies not the why there was a huge amount of debate and discussion what's happening and what I started was something was a very simple idea at a time when still the internet was at the beginning I started to pull together links to news prepared to new research papers that myself Krugman and many others were writing because there was this huge amount of demand for economic information and for understanding and what I realize in the moment because the site started that way and then from Dayton crisis started to cover Europe the United States other emerging markets China and by now we have 40 plus countries and 40 plus topics is that in some sense we think that information is free on the web because when you go to Google or any other search engine you can click and you can find millions or billions of item but the reality is that information in some sense economic or other information is not truly free and it's not free because if you search for any topic say economic prospects for Europe or what's happened into the US economy or what's going on in Brazil if you go on the web and you click and search you might find one billion different items there as a result of your search but you don't know what's good and what's bad you might find tons of stuff but probably 99.5% of it is not useful or it's not relevant so the idea is that in order to make information useful time is money and therefore regardless of whether you're a student or a professor or a policymaker or somebody in a financial institution the private sector you need some intelligent aggregation of information and the whole idea of my website that is this RG monitor dot-com is exactly of trying to aggregate economic financial and geopolitical information in a way that is organized and intelligent so the basic elements of that information are of course news items op-ed pieces and other commentary that's written by people like yourself all fund on FB The Economist many other newspapers there are research papers written by academics there are research papers written by policy institution or Wall Street firms there are other pieces of analysis and increasingly now there is also the the community of the bloggers day the Sun anyone on my second language what I'm doing or whether it's what you are doing or whether they see PR is doing is to create two things the first one is a Grigore information by topic and subtopic try to filter from all the mass of stuff that is on the web what is interesting what's more important there may be maybe 5,000 academic paper written on say polarization in Argentina but maybe the most important only 5 or 10 you cannot read all of them you cannot even read the abstract of most of them so you need the trust that's short they can filter and find for you what are the most interesting what are the most important and most people don't have thirty's to know that so you need a thruster filter and what we do at our G for example is to have a staff of people that are all we've either PhDs or with masters in economics or in politics they do that kind of a filtering second thing I think that is in addition to this aggregation you need to create a community a community of scholar of experts and that's what increasingly blogging allows you to do and communities of bloggers for example we've recently launched as part of their GE is Latin American economic turd that takes about 20 among the top researchers academic policy and otherwise were experts of Latin American economies and they all blog together so what we do is essentially trying to find and create increasingly community of experts of interest people of readers and they of course in the blog's you can also have the commentators on the blog so it's important as we go to the next step and the next step of the web is wet on 2.0 meaning interactive web creating this community of people that have similar interest and now the technologies allows us for example and what that's what we're doing the new version our site customization and personalization so maybe you can have a version of this model within MySpace or economies in which one which experts and economists can create their own website or mini website that aggregates the topics that they are interested in so all these new ideas that come more for application for teenagers like facebook or myspace I think that over time I'm going to actually be adopted for more professional applications that are those that we do as professional economies so there's a whole space of things can be done I mean one of the notable features of your website is your own your own blog and you you are known to be a very not only poop profligate a blogger you blog often daily in certain in certain days but also very controversial blogger can you tell me is this part of the part of the marketing is this just your personality it was as part of a marketing strategy of our GE monitor to have you know highly pointed views on the United States economy you've been a noted bear on the on the outlook for economic growth oh it's something that you've depth that that you would probably have done in any case no it's not marketing you know if those bearish views about the US economy because I believe in them but I think that one of the interesting point about these is exactly that if you're going to the consensus say all the researchers on Wall Street or even in the official sector the IMF there is being otherwise there are some degrees of constraints in terms of how openly can they speak and one of the fascinating things about the internet and blogging is this democratization of essentially economic debates anybody can set up a blog and discuss and present their views now I think that the good thing about it is that you get more perspectives by doing that you get lateral thinking you lead you find contrarian thinking you find people that don't have necessarily specific biases or financial interests or conflicts of interest now of course there are thousands of bloggers out there but I think one of the things we do here of course my blog is prominent but we have also other blogs in our community we have the blog of Brad Setzer where they cannot monitor that is the blog of our editors we have this new latin-american blog where 2012 Latin American economies are presenting their view so our model is actually over time is to de-emphasize me but to create the community of people a series of experts on a variety of different regions or variety of issues of economic and political issues and create a community where there is a dialogue so I think that's the sense in the direction we should be taking we want to have bearish views and also bullish views about the US and other economic issues I think people get a lot more when there is a discussion there is a debate rather than when there is one consensus view on any issue and that's a direction we'd like to go okay Nouriel thank you very much we'll get back the back to you I'm going to hand over to Steve and we need to size all right I'm involved in the project that Richard Baldwin is going to tell you about in a few minutes which is a new website called Vox but I thought I would take a little bit different approach in talking here tonight to try to give you a perspective on the things that neural and Richard called and we'll be talking about and to put them to allow you to step back a little bit and understand some of the things they're talking about and the technologies that they're talking about so my talk is going to be rather general it won't be in Latin don't worry but I did feel that I had to use some Latin just to honor the spirit of the Council of Trent which meant here a long time ago and I also face the constraint of using the word voice in the title of my talk it's a self-imposed constraint Tito didn't make me but I was determined to get Vox in there somewhere and when you see Richard Baldwin's presentation you'll understand why I really want to get the word box into the title and into the talk everywhere that I can I'm gonna tackle two questions two broad questions the first dish a little bit descriptive it basically says what did the internet look like ten years ago from the point of view of economists and economics what does it look like now and what are the changes and how do they fit into the kinds of things that neural has been talking about and that Richard Baldwin will be talking about after I speak the second point I'm going to pick up on is I think a deeper point I don't have anything deep to say about it I'm sorry to disappoint you but it's at least a deep point and that is where and on what basis do you filter information that you receive either on the web or anywhere else and I think there are now emerging two slightly different schools of thought or two different approaches to this and they quite literally are Vox Populi and Vox Dei for those of you who didn't have the benefit of an education in Latin I will translate the Latin for you that's the easy one that's the one that everyone knows there's a slightly extended one which doesn't read in quite the same way and takes a slightly different point of view and I think these two presentations which I don't know whether Richard and Uriel can see can encapsulate the contrast between what you might call the the voice of the man in the street and the voice of the expert and I think Nouriel site is an expert site and and Wolfgang site as well our expert sites par excellence they really rely on people with a reputation either from the academic world of the journalistic world to tell you what to think or to guide you in your thinking to tell you what to read and that those are the gods if I may use that expression I think the Internet in some ways is pushing in a slightly different direction in which the users vote on what they think is important now that I don't think has yet penetrated into sites like rge monitor or other sites like that but you can certainly see it on more popular sites where what you see on the site is what the people on the site think is important now I'll come back to that at the end of the talk because I think that's a an issue in which the Internet in general is moving in a slightly different direction than economists on the web or have moved let me just talk briefly about the Internet in 1997 some of you here may not have been old enough to know what it was like in those old days but it was a different kind of place then if you looked at Bill gulfs survey piece that he updated every quarter and sent out by email you will find you would have found a lot of talk about websites of institutions CepR NBR research institutions some government departments a lot of data that have been put on the web for the first time people were very keen on data in the good in those days a little bit of code and programming but you wouldn't have found any on blogs feeds wiki's any of this stuff that seems to be talked about everywhere that was completely absent from the web 10 years ago in the intervening 10 years things did change a little bit blogs I think emerged around 19 late sometime in the 1997 1998 it's interesting the they're essentially a u.s. phenomenon for many years they were I think I don't have data on this it's not an easy question to quantify but they were essentially a right-wing phenomenon initially there were very few people with non right-wing views who wrote blogs in the early days the first and they were political and not economics an ignorant is probably one of the earliest bloggers in economics if not the earliest but he was a real outlier I think he will know better than I you know how many how much company he had back then but in the late 1990s there were very few economics blogs and very few economics bloggers there were mostly Americans they were mostly on the right of the political spectrum now that's changed a bit there are more left-wing more a greater diversity of blogs even Dani Rodrik has a blog now started one of about a month ago so the diversity of political views has changed there are more economist blogging now quite a lot more some of them very distinguished so Nouriel has company now some very distinguished company Greg Mankiw Becker and Posner and others so that development was very much non economics to begin with very much us I think it's now more economics more diverse politically and it's changed a little bit so what do we have now today well just to give you a little catalog of some of the things that Nouriel mentioned and that Richard Baldwin will probably mention when he talks I think I'm slightly embarrassed to sort of talk about this because it sounds like internet hype and marketing jargon but I can't avoid it the web has changed a little bit from a web in which the content was created and written by institutions and although maybe less centralized than when there wasn't a web still pretty centralized it was kind of a top-down web with very little content creation by individual users that's a big change that's pretty different these days hard to measure how big the changes but it certainly changed with the advent of blogs and wiki's and similar things so that all goes under the term which Nouriel mentioned called web 2.0 and again that sounds like a device for raising funds for a start-up in Silicon Valley and it often is but there's something underneath there in which at a technical level the websites operate differently there's more sophisticated interfaces to use them and actually a lot more facilities for writing things on websites by the users of the web sites rather than the webmasters so what a technical lever there's a big change where the IT industry goes the management consultants are not long to follow so we now have something not only web 2.0 but Enterprise 2.0 and there's a nice summary of all that by somebody from Harvard Business School in the Sloan management review if you want to look that up last year and he characterizes Enterprise 2.0 as blogs wiki's tags and feeds and that's probably pretty accurate and I think as I'll show in a few minutes that's kind of where science and economics in particular has been going although with a bit of a lag I'll come on to what I mean by each of those terms in a minute what isn't featured in McAfee's the the article I've cited there in his little study is the use of audio and video on the web which I don't think is penetrated business very much but ironically has has become much bigger in the personal sphere and I suspect ironically has actually penetrated science a little bit more than it has the corporate world but anyway that's the web today web 2.0 Enterprise 2.0 whatever you want to call it I don't want to go into too much detail on this but the elements are pretty well known blogs we all know we read them you've seen a couple of examples on the screen wikis you may be a little bit less familiar with but of course if you've looked up Wikipedia you've seen one Wikipedia not surprisingly is a wiki most people just look it up to look things up but if you register and click the edit page you can actually write on it not many people do not many people even bother to look to write but it's the essence of a wiki that any user can create an edit content and alter content there so if you want to go home tonight and create your own Wikipedia article you can do it you just register as a user and right away or you can change somebody else's article that's the essence of a wiki they have made some progress in the corporate world and a little bit of progress in the scientific world and I'll talk about that in a minute feeds our web feeds RSS feeds I guess you've used them I won't explain too much about that tags I do want to talk a little bit about because they relate to the vox populi vox Dei theme that I'll come back to tags are a fancy name for keywords if you've used the library catalog when you were a student you know what a keyword is it's nothing special but there is something slightly different about the use of tags on the web because they're on the web and because other users can see the tags that you create you can share tags and tags our way of classifying content and when you classify content you can vote on it so tags are a way of allowing the user to vote on the importance of the content on a website and there are used in that way more and more often now that's something as I said that runs in a somewhat different direction to the what you might call the expert sites that Nouriel runs and Wolfgang runs and I'll come back to that in a minute there's a very nice article on tagging by David Weinberger that you can download from the web for free and I've given the reference there but I think tags are something that most people don't know much about on the web but are for some sites becoming very important let me get a little bit closer to the subject that's of interest to people here but not right on economics just at the moment surprisingly the physical sciences have moved a little bit more quickly in this area than the social sciences that's a little bit surprising now that's not to say that there are thousands of scientists writing blogs on this or that topic blogs are not very popular even among science scientists and I'll come back to why I think that is in a minute wiki's have made a bit of an impression in science though even in biology they have become fairly popular in experimental and lab sciences where people wanted document laboratory procedures and protocols in biology and there's a very famous week he called openwetware org the first of them all which is a very lively one based at MIT wiki's are we've tried them and I'll come back to that in a minute they're a little bit harder to get running in in economics but I'll come back to that I would urge you if you're interested in this topic to pay some attention to what nature magazine does in web 2.0 they're by far the most advanced site and company in terms of making use of web technologies in any science anywhere in the world they're far ahead of anyone else they do a greater range of things and they're more effective with them than anybody else there of course nature is a very well-known magazine but they are surprisingly far ahead they have a website called Kanodia now you may not have used that but that's a social bookmarking website for scientists who tagged references in scientific journals and share their tags so it's a vast self cataloging archive of scientific references nature have podcasts as well now many people have podcasts you know all about them what not many people realize is that nature podcasts which are about 20 or 30 minutes long every week and feature an interview with the article of a author of an article in nature magazine gets 75,000 downloads every week they're very well done very professional and they have a huge audience in the science community and more broadly it seems seventy five thousand isn't much by iPod standards maybe but when you think that this is basically physics and biology of the kind of watson-crick caliber that's being talked about this is a large audience seven if if economists could get seventy five thousand downloads I'm sure they'd be delighted there are some differences however between business use of web 2.0 and science uses and I think this is the area where it is interesting to think a little bit about it there's a very interesting article by Declan Butler in Nature in 2005 in which he talks about the use of new web technologies in the in the physical sciences and what he points out there is that there are some real cultural differences between pure scientists and how they communicate and between people outside the scientific world and I think what he draws attention to is that somehow people who communicate outside of peer-reviewed journals and outside of seminars are viewed in some sense it's frivolous people buy real scientists real scientists in quotes now I don't think that's quite such a it's not quite the same I think in in economics or the social sciences but he does draw attention to this very real fear even in among especially among younger researchers that people who engage in more open kind of communication through the web are somehow not serious people and they're not to be taken seriously and I think that may explain a little bit why science 2.0 as you if you want to call it that and perhaps even economics 2.0 is evolving in a little bit different way now let me come to the close my talk here or the close of this part of the talk and think a little bit about whether there's an economics 2.0 to go along with web 2.0 Enterprise 2.0 science 2.0 etc I think the answer is probably if you looked at the various elements wiki's blogs feeds and tags that I talked about earlier is that we're not there yet neural site is a pretty good example but there's nothing we haven't I don't think economists have really embraced all those technologies fully yet let me just take you through a quick tour of each of them and explain where I think economists are at in each area and and analyze why briefly wiki's are the in some ways the easiest one we've launched a few of them at CPR among researchers not very successful and I think it comes back to the cultural the culture among economists either economists don't like to talk to each other but this conference is a kind of standing rebuke to that notion it's just not possible to explain that through that but I think the the answer is that these collaborative technologies at that level only really work on very data-intensive fields like the lab fields in biology and the we've had more success with our wikis in more data intensive areas than in other areas theoreticians just don't go in for this kind of thing so I I don't see much movement on wiki's in economics 2.0 blogs are different of course but blogs are different things they're they're not all the same thing there are clearly individual blogs we all know about them now it's interesting there there are many of them in the United States now they're relatively uncommon in Europe among economists among academic economists I would have to be happy to be corrected by anyone in the audience but I'm it's very difficult to think of a one man one person one woman whatever one something blog by a universe you know academic University economist in Europe they're really not very common and that's surprising given how common they are now in the US where they're my guess would be 250 300 of them floating around not everyone not every blogger is famous but there are a lot of them why that is I don't know it's just culture or something group blogs are a little bit different they in ironically I think have been a little bit more successful than the individual blogs the best examples I think are Becker and Posner which is a very good blog Gary Becker will be speaking later in richard posner that's a very serious blog and a very interesting one those guys post two or three times a week argue with each other it's a it's an excellent blog marginal revolution is another very good one and their the formula seems to be two or three people who have introduced enough diversity into the blog to keep it lively and there's always something being posted so you've got individual blogs group logs and then you've got another category which I would call platforms I don't think I've got quite the right term for this but platforms portals but of course la voce' is the premier example of that in Europe by far the earliest the biggest the best I would say I'm not flattering you just to get my expenses paid I think anyone anyone would agree with that tell us is fallout in France not quite as big not as active but still very good and very influential especially in the campaign Richard Baldwin will in a minute or two be in one minute be telling you about our new venture at a European level which is in a similar spirit I'll just finish on this in bit of my topic and then I have one more slide on feeds and tags feeds are not very pop use not much used and not very popular in economics I don't know why it's very surprising for example the NBR site doesn't have them very few sites use them we only introduced them a month or two ago I don't know why they haven't taken off my view is that audio and video is the next big thing the thing which isn't happening and which should I think tags will become important and social bookmarking among economists I don't quite see how yet but I think it will so that's a prediction one more slide last slide and then I will be terminated I'll come back to the Vox Dei Vox Populi argument there's a bit of small print here my apologies for it it's a little bit small I think what you'll see with Nouriel site and many like it your intelligence as well Wolfgang site I would call them the Vox Dei sites this is the voice of the experts the priesthood the established experts telling guiding you in selecting your material now as someone from CPR and we that's pretty much the way CPR works I'm from that world too so I don't want to claim to be anybody different or better what I would point out is a slightly different trend in the web world which you might term as Vox Populi in which what you see on a site depends on what the readers of the site the visitors to the site vote as the most interesting and there are many sites that operate on precisely that principle that what trickle bubbles up to the top of the site is what gets clicked on most or what get voted on most good examples of that are more from the tektite II world than the economics world but if you think about the evolution of web 2.0 Enterprise 2.0 the way things are going you might predict or you might conjecture that that kind of voting and on content might become more important in the economics world and the issue is who will win out the gods or the people and I'll leave it at that if thank you very much I pass all of us try to reach it okay can you hear me yes we can okay screw that we make in the process that I cover boy twister Sarah probiem of conquest video ningke any gravy petra morning so that's my italian i hope you enjoyed that in my remarks i'm going to talk about three things trends in the profession that have drawn researchers away from policy analysis lots is role in helping to improve the situation at the end i'll give you a little glimpse a box with ian help will leave rocks off until the third parties let me quickly talk about the trends first of all as we all know there's the big shift towards counting journal articles only in terms of evaluation of universities promotions and professional standing it's huge especially among the young people and mark of this means that you people are not willing to write the conference volume chapters and he's been Brookings papers or economic policy papers could be valued now this has promoted a shift away from policy analysis at the very high side Paul vasya implications and general articles is viewed as unprofessional putting a say a discussion of what your research means for policy it's just not professional anymore and it certainly doesn't help publication chances so people are leading them out we okay that okay the MBR our policy with discussion papers a working papers is a classic example you're not allowed to put policy recommendations into NVRs working papers they won't publish it if they do because it's viewed as unprofessional in real research a little bit like Stephen was saying now they can still do things like economic policy in Brookings or get paid to do big studies but these take lots of time and they're quite rare and actually limited to quite a narrow fraction of the of the profession there have always been newspapers as an outlet for policy thinking but this is really quite a high cost to most economists and it had an uncertain reward who's not really sure we can get it in to the best newspapers and a particular the best english-language outlet VFT has reduced the number of columns that they're publishing so it's even more than that gamble than before you have to write this thing before they will evaluate it and although you'll eventually get it in some newspaper not sure we will get in the FT which is the one one has the broad audience if we go down to the low side I think the blog have to base the discourse not Muriel's of course and not euro intelligence but which is not a blog at all but the best of the blogs are like the chit chat we used to have around the coffee table where people exchange hints about interesting articles they've read makes a little bit of gossip but that works and a lot of them on that way it's charlatan ism aimed at influencing the economically illiterate you could see that on the right you can see it on the left but the blogs themselves including very good blogs like they did practice are essentially aiming at an audience that even below the Financial Times newspaper column moreover the good blocks like Muriel's or Mac user DeLong's they take an incredible amount of time and it requires a special set of talents that most economists don't have and this has pushed good researchers even farther from wanting to contribute to the policy debate now I think this lowering of the policy discussion by the blogs and the raising of removing the policy analysis out of the scientific journals has opened up the niche for a vehicle that's lower cost in terms of time for good researchers and at a higher level than this typical column this would be a way for researchers to talk to economists in the policy world public sector private sector in the media for example one should be able to mention present discounted value when explaining for pension reform which is not something you can do in your average newspaper column but farther telling them you end up explaining what you really mean by present discounted value and try to know down to 800 words it's something that most economists can't do hopefully box will open up an area where on the supply side good economists can explain the policy implications in a research let me just give a couple of examples Tony van Oakland bulls in Hong Kong a recently wrote a column in The Financial Times arguing that Europe should make an extra effort Forex trade preferences for developing countries in particular Africa and the core of their argument is about agglomeration economies clusters and in the FT they had a hard time explaining that in 800 words so it didn't come through very clearly but there are many economists in the policy world who would like to hear what Tony and Paul have to say and at the level that is significantly less than a journal article or discussion paper but uses programs like agglomeration economies clusters things like that moreover I think research especially with the growing importance of empirical research has something to say to the policy perhaps even more than before we have such good data on so many things social things social welfare policies and the policy world's not hearing about these because they're being published at a level which is beyond all with the very highest level of the policy-making world now I hope Vox is going to open up a space to draw more researchers into explaining the lessons of their knowledge and the research in a setting which has lower entry barriers than a blog or newspaper columns and hopefully has a broad audience broader that most newspapers let me now move on to Vox I'm going to briefly talk about the logic of box and the consortium and my hope for how it's going to change the nature of policy discourse in Europe I'm very optimistic and I think it will have an impact on the policy world somewhat like he cannot ecology did in 1980 which was opening up again a gap between the highly scientific and the newspaper articles box will have three key elements gobi comes from what we call foundation contributors a fixed list of about 25 eating scholars whose names you go first and they've agreed to contribute a good number columns during the first year and hopefully afterwards you'll see the list of names it's quite impressive maybe we could put up box now that's possible it's up he said okay okay as you can see it's impressive names the useful suspects we were somewhat dismayed of how many people have the alphabet but being a gr and an Essene Iver Tula rush are wary see all the names those people have brought into this project and have agreed to give us a set of columns repeated basis now these columns will be 500 to 1500 words and there are written for professional economists not necessarily people with PhD as we all know many many of the economists working into the policy-making world in France Germany Italy they have a first degree in economics or a degree in public policy so we're not talking professors in economics professors of economics but we're not afraid of using words like present discounted value the economies of scale multiple equilibria etc and the columns will include things like tables figures and importantly references to articles to real research that supports the key finding to the recommendation or supports the key analysis so that the people in the policy world policymakers and their staff going down to three or four novels will if they're particularly interested be able to look at the research themselves now the phrase is research-based policy analysis and commentary I'd like to stress research base this isn't just thing this guy talking about what they think is important it's famous guys doing research extracting the messages for policy coming from the research now of course these founding contributors you all know though they will certainly throw in some opinion and commentary that's not based on research but that will keep things lively ii know we're also allowed to post comments hopefully will encourage some debate and part of ideas to create a community around the site where people are discussing hopefully at a high level we all have we don't know yet the second bit is columns contributed on an ad hoc basis by researchers so it's not just these twenty five people who'll be posting it but many other people and we already have a number of columns from people who aren't in the list there so i think eventually it will become useful the basic philosophy of this is that people who will have to go there because the leading economists are writing about policy there and since everybody goes there the leading economists will find that a convenient way of expressing themselves on policy in the media now Marx is part of the consortium box was very much inspired by Anna butcher and Tito where he was also very important in getting CPR to move into this but we now have a consortium with la voce' Telos and the Spanish site which is called open society in Spanish and we're working on a Dutch site hopefully our German society and etcetera so the idea is each of these sites is run separately but we share a content and in particular anything that's on box can be taken by these national language sites translated into and put it on and they will translate some of the local stuff into English to came to us so although they will be independent editorial policies if for example only they've long shot has something brilliant to say about Europe United employment by putting it on box and in the consortium it will be translated into the five major languages and thereby penetrated much further into the policymaking community than it would if it was just in the FT because once you get beyond the top level of the second well many people aren't very comfortable reading English much renovating their local language now these other rock sites like patello State Bank mochi they have their own community and very much they're focusing on similar voci on italian issues or tell us on french issues but they do occasionally do things that have a broader remit they on the constitutional treaty or global what the European Union should do about global warming and then box will help give a bigger Bannu to that by putting an A in English as well now the third element out here is just in the far right hand corner column in blue in CPR relevant research and I'd like to point out one thing in particular CPR is not launch is launching a new series called policy insight the person was is my enemy rose up there now these are longer than columns potentially much longer than columns and potentially more involved in terms of economics and the empirics but they're much much more accessible than Jarls importantly they're written by the researchers themselves so for example the first one I asked any Rose who has an idea about house international architecture is evolving he believes that inflation targeting and central bank independent to get there is creating a new world now Andy has written that up in a way that's more accessible in discussion paper and I think that will be popular that's the first feature for CD PR we also have featured discussion papers with little extended abstract to explain what's going on and then the standard fare if things go well I'm very hopeful person we may add many more items some of the things that that Steven was talking about as the community develops perhaps things now we're teaching perhaps a weak media for theory Wikipedia and database information econometrics could be for Richard can I just ask you - sorry to interrupt and can you just wind up just a minute or so and then we go into a general discussion the show the features with the tags and the 2.0 features I can't see what's on the board so why don't you just take over Steve and show those 2.0 features I think I think we probably probably do if would you mind if we switch seats again on what you've mentioned you've mentioned our far more modest website your intelligence I was just briefly trying to trying to give you show you what we've done and our starting point has been the eurozone and our realization when it was founded that it didn't have any newspapers and people were always saying that mmm this is a real problem there is very little debate I mean you know the newspapers write about the eurozone and there are discussions obviously among academic economists in conferences such as you know many of us participate in but there is sort of no forum for both sort of debate news analysis and we've tried to we've try to produce this and one of the things we've do enough as a journalist I've been taking an interest in newspaper and European newspapers and even though most newspapers cover European use it is when you actually do a selection and this is what again what knurl is saying it is not just some you know the best off or some sort of some kind of automated compilation but it is the kind of judgments that you make when you look at different newspapers pick up the various the various stories with a certain relevance we've had Italy in today and stories about German name German unemployment the g8 preparation the debate about the European constitutional treaty various economic various economic discussions but one thing we realized that by the once you compile these things and we do this every morning so the new reality comes in and a reality that you probably will not find in any in any any of the newspapers and what we've discovered relatively quickly a fairly fairly large amount of people interested in investing so the new community build-up that wasn't there before community with people with a professional interest in it and that included economic economists but it also included the policymakers investors a fairly wide variety and I have to underline what Stephen was saying about about the Europeans when we started this website we didn't have a feed an RSS feed and immediately there was a week after we launched it was a former colleague of nouriel's in fact to actually alerted the students that no self-respecting website doesn't have neuro acessories we spent a whole night basically programming one and and there was absolutely right we you know this is something that we that that that we need it but it was we found it was mainly American readers who were interested in RSS and many of the modern modern feeds where the Europeans often didn't know didn't know what it didn't know what what it was so we also find that another interesting thing about this website is that we get a note even though this is mainly about Europe Europe and the eurozone it you could say this is very much an invert very much a regional kind of thing most not most but a very large number of our readers as far as we can tell from our analyses come from from Asian from the United States as a data that has that has surprised us but it made may may also be telling us something about how web communities exist well they come about that they come come come out from different from different from zones from from from regions that you don't don't expect we have a lot of reason from Brazil and from the apparently the central bank from Malaysia for some reason okay I don't want to stop here and start and getting sort of into a discussion and one point which is interesting from new real I mean you started off as you as you explained in the 90s as a website collecting lots of information of interest to your peer group and in one stage you became commercial and explained a little bit to us a how do you actually make it commercial because where I come from originally from a newspaper point of view we've struggled with is all idea for very long how do you turn something that we've been you know we've had a business model which worked well for 400 years putting it on the internet became you know that became a big problem making money on the internet is still something that that a lot of the content providers have great difficulties in now CPR you may have a different objective function and maximizing profits but the website I like to talk about it what's the commercial idea behind it but no explain to us how did you make it commercial and is it is it really a commercial venture in the long run is it is it a really money-making thing or was it something that just generates an okay amount of revenue until 2005 was a free site and at that time you know I was working on it myself daily a couple of students at NYU work well you know by 2002 2003 we had covered daily something like 100 different topics and to do it of the quality you need that you needed more people so one ideally always wanted to maintain these things a free site I think that the constraint that many site face is the one that if you want to do a professional job you cannot only rely on of course I was fascinated by what Steven here was saying about this trade-off between thoughts properly involved a I could not hear Richard Baldwin's presentations are not sure what he said because of the sound but where is trade-off and I think the trade-off is a fair one and you could think of creating a community of people and each one of them contributes and therefore it remains as a free enterprise it was the commercial one but I think there are many many constraints to essentially a model in which is only a free enterprise and a free community of people because what we found out was first of all that it's formerly successful we have now hundred of paying clients among the top private financial institutions in the world oh thanks top managers top hedge funds on top of it we also have some of the major international governmental and national institutions central banks finance ministries IMF World Bank I have C and so on and we also have among our clients dozens of academic and other research institutions now of course knowing dividual student or faculty member will be able and willing to pay but in the current model every University Library subscribes to thousands of different information services say Factiva LexisNexis and we provide also site licenses for the entire University every student every faculty and every administrator within say places like Harvard or Columbia has access to our site and the University Library buys it for that so this is the model this commercially successful and I think it's successful for the following reason at the beginning people told us you're just aggregating apart from your own research free information why would anybody want to pay for things that are links to things that are freely available on the web and the reason is the following one time is money an information is not free if you have to go and find the gem on the web you can waste hours funding the gem on the web and if you are a portfolio manager for a very large global macro hedge fund and you're paid millions of dollars a year to do your job the last thing you want to do is to waste 3-4 hours of your time of day finding the relevant information so in that sense filtering of that information that looks like free is a major value added and people are willing to pay money for somebody who can intelligently organize it in that sense I think that you need experts to at least organize that information a model is based only on a voluntary aggregation of people may not work that's our view we can embed them we're embedding in what we do elements of web 2.0 we are ready for example I think of 20 leading latin-american bloggers we already have RSS feeds we're doing lots of the things like videos and podcast we can do all those things and they're going to be part of creating a broader community but you need also professionals and right now we have 20 to 25 people working for us full time therefore you have to pay them therefore you need to think about commercial alternatives the three ones in my view in the long run are not gonna work and intelligent commercial ones have a way of being first successful and to be open to a wide variety of people in academia in the government sector in the private sector well thank you pastas over to Steven though right okay I think CPR is has a different objective function we're a non-profit so our objective function is to do interesting things without going broke so we so far we've managed that just like so far Nouriel has managed to keep profitable I think I I'm not sure I agree with Nouriel that voluntary groups have you know free open source kind of means a production can't work in the long run CP ours worked in the long run well the long run is 25 years la voce works it depends on what the long run is I think that these models will coexist now it's I think it's also true that CPR and and and to some extent level che and and I guess Vox are in some sense there's some cross subsidization going on there between teaching economics and writing about economics which isn't so easy for Nouriel because he's he works at a different pace so I don't think that cross subsidization works in nouriel's case he's in a he's just in a different market but I think in other markets which are not as commercially oriented and not as time sensitive I think cross subsidizing teaching and and writing about policy and doing research it does work and and can continue to work so I don't think these models will crowd each other out the question for you and your in your presentation you mentioned an example of an author who were written or two others who had written an op-ed in the Financial Times and but then we weren't able to express the the technical details of what they wanted to say to the satisfaction that they are able to do on your side I would progress in general the ability and to say things in 1500 words and knowingly that you are allowed to use a degree of jargon that probably is not possible in newspapers including in the Financial Times - to which extent you believe that what you're doing will ultimately pose serious difficulties for the traditional op-ed sections of the newspapers because what I'll the way I look at what you're doing is it looks to me like very serious competition we can't hear you is speaking I think we've lost your voice just give us a second we'll try to fix something hold on we still haven't got your butt wizard yeah yes excellent hear me now okay please yeah did you eat did you presumably you heard my question yes they did so the idea I think this is providing more influence for journalists right but I do think it is a serious competition for standard columns by researchers in the Financial Times and here I'd like to point out the example of Mary summers great idea about global warming he first put it on the website of Financial Times because he was a member and he maybe didn't know what else to do it but in a longer and more technical way which was subsequently put down to be a hundred words so when Stephen and I were talking about this way we sort of think about it is that if an elite journalist reads one of these things and masters the underlying research that would make an excellent economic focus so it's never going to be written as well as something like an Internet focus or some of the columns in your column in the financial and so I think in some ways providing crisps without and bill as well for the journalists I think it will help journalists like yourself oh you know Martin wolf all those people write more funny genomics because it'll be bringing especially the research more out into the open bring it up to another level but ultimately we're not in competition with the Financial Times newspaper column I think we're trying to create a new community of researchers talking to policymakers which is at a to specialize or even specialized newspapers like Mt thank you very much I have a question for all of your following on from Stevens Point about web 2.0 2.1 one of the observe asians i've made with audio and video is that i very much agree that this is where it's going but at the moment we're at a stage where many professionals who are in this who are in this were asked for example in newspapers you get a journalist being dragged in front of a television screen a television camera and having to basically say what is what he would normally write and you find that the quality of the writing vastly exceeds the quality of the of the of the visual presentation now obviously this is a matter of training that eventually they'll be able to do that but my my own experience is that that there is a limit to I mean technology gives you the ability to read out everything to do this but there are you know the written word still has as many you know it is it is often faster to read something than to listen to a very long conference or to a very long panel discussions you would probably not want to have on one video in in total lengths you need to edit it so there are to add value to these things to make web to work is probably a very you know there is a very lengthy lengthy lengthy experience so my question to all of you is in and and and Noel mentioned in its initial presentation you know we are all moving towards over MySpace kind of kind of environment what concretely do you have in mind and what are you going to do anything about this because we surely we have decided to hold off on on this floor for a while yet you know why under start with you on this what we do for example @rg monitor is a combination of mostly written material and links also to video audio and we create our own also video notice for example myself and my collaborator or we do regular web cast you can see in video whenever we have a conference or we were our clients we have an audio and now the clients have asked us actually for a written transcript of it it's a bit of a trade-off because we find that the people that are the most busy ones say if you're in a hedge fund or an investment bank they don't have really time to waste to listen to something for an hour or an hour they might have three or four minutes so if there is a written transcript of a conference call that they missed they can skim it in literally two minutes and see the most important things other people sometimes listen in the background to stuff and they can work while listening it was good to see my face or somebody else's so depending on the audience the value of time is different and therefore different ways of transmitting information on research analyses have different types of audiences that are more or less receptive to it the candle client we have are extremely busy so the feedback we get is anything that is shorter summarizing bullet points to the point is more useful for them the things that are very very expensive how about talks what-what-what-what web - I mean at the moment is web web point web 1.0 clearly nothing wrong with that nothing wrong with that I'm a big fan of it but what was web 2.0 there two columns and the larger the number of tags the bigger into the things so it's sort of a way of people sorting through a large number of columns and they're user-generated if users who are doing it and that the idea is that this will be read by professional economists or will be tagged by professional economists the second part is the middle tab which ranks the articles by clicks this is fairly standard these days where the most popular articles would stay on the top the other tab is just the most recent steven has been trying to push audio audio okay okay I'll come back to that in a minute without trying to keep everybody past dinner time here got it right now this actually yes you can see it well enough the way this site works and and others as well the authors and indeed the users can tag articles with keywords of their own choosing this is we have them quite launched the site yet so we don't have very many articles are very many keywords so this is not actually representative of what you know a site that was bigger and had been running for a while would look like but basically the bigger the typeface the more articles are tagged with that so size of type equals equals popularity in some sense and if you click on a title there you are that on a tag you get all the articles with that tag I realize I'm giving away some competitive secrets to some ferocious competitors here and doubtless this will be on both of their sites before we wake up tomorrow morning but that's the nature of internet business and if they hadn't stolen this from us they would have stolen it from somebody else pretty soon anyway so we don't mind well on this cheerful note I'd like to conclude well I would like to thank the panelists TJ oh the Roubini Richard Baldwin and the audience for their patient and as you suggested thank you very much