200 – Blog

This is Pannell Discussion number 200. To mark the occasion, I am finally responding to many requests from readers and converting the site to a blog format, with a facility for readers to comment on each post.

My main motivation for starting Pannell Discussions in 2004 was to communicate economic ideas, principles and theories to a wide audience, in a way that engages people and gets the ideas across clearly. I wanted people to see the relevance and interest of economics, and to dispel myths, misconceptions and misunderstandings about it.

I also wanted to raise awareness about my research that might otherwise have sat relatively unread in academic journals.

Seven years later, judging from the number of readers and the feedback I get, the site has achieved those objectives quite well. There are 600 subscribers, and the more popular articles get read by over 1000 people (or at least loaded onto their computer screens).

I think the benefits have been greater than I anticipated. On the cost side, I aim to spend no more than an hour on each one, so it’s not a big burden. And, anyway, I quite enjoy writing them.

I also haven’t found it difficult to identify topics to write about. They often seem to present themselves.

So here we are in blog land. I resisted moving to this format for a long time because I was put off by the tone and quality of ‘debate’ you see on some blogs and because of the extra work it might generate. For the time being I am going to approve each comment before it gets posted. I’ll see how it goes.

Some blogs have rules for commenting, and I think that’s probably a good idea, so here are mine.

  1. No abusive comments. No ad hominem attacks, slurs or personal insults. Do not attribute motives to another participant.
  2. Restrict comments to the topic of the Pannell Discussion.

People are still welcome to email me with comments that they don’t wish to make public.

Not all of the old posts have been converted to the new format yet. We’ll be working on that over time.

My other little celebratory gesture for reaching 200 issues is that I’m nominating the site for the 2012 Quality of Research Communication Award of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society. If anyone would like to quickly email me or post below a comment about Pannell Discussions that I could include as an attributed quote in the entry documentation, that would be much appreciated. The closing date is 30 November 2011. NOTE: I have submitted the nomination now.


  • Wendy Minato
    29 November, 2011 - 9:23 am | link

    I was sent a link to the Pannell discussions when a topic related to my research came up a few years ago. I read them with interest because they’re often an alternative take on current issues and easily read and comprehended. I like the conversational tone – it engages the reader and encourages a response (hence mine).

  • Catriona King
    29 November, 2011 - 9:43 am | link

    I am a “non economic evaluator” of Ag and NRM programs. I particularly like the way Pannell discussions explains economic concepts in simple, plain english and chooses topics which are interesting and illustrate the concepts well. I look always read the posts as soon as i receive them

  • 30 November, 2011 - 10:17 am | link

    I have been reading Pannell Discussions for about 6 years and always learn something from them. I periodically pass them onto other people if they are relevant to their work. Lately I find that these people have become regular subscribers so this is not as needed.

    They fill a need for clear thinking about resource allocation issues. By being topical they add relevant information, balance and sometimes a different perspective to other forums where these topics are presented.

    In some aspects its style is similar the more recent “The Conversation” website. It would be interesting to know if this similarity is coincident or not.

    Dave’s clear writing and logic are a model for us all to aspire to.

  • Sally Marsh
    30 November, 2011 - 6:48 pm | link

    Too late for the nomination I know. Sorry. I always find the discussions interesting and informative and have forwarded many of them to non-economists. I hope the move to a blog format will go well – I’m looking forward to the discussions.

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