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Proposal: Economics

I am starting this discussion because I truly believe that a Q&A site related to economics and econometrics can be a success. Right. So why the first attempt failed?

I believe that not targeting the undergraduate level, and instead opting for the professional academics and graduate-level students may had something to do with it.

Economics is not a scientific discipline where quick-exchanges between scientists can work. It is as much philosophy as is hard quantitative and mathematical method, and research-level questions sometimes look almost as a research paper in the making, not suitable for a Q&A site.

Moreover, distancing the undergraduates eliminates one of the main reasons why people volunteer their time and knowledge in order to answer other people's questions: for the psychological reward of teaching (and the lowly reward of showing-off). Encouraging undergraduates to participate will have a larger potential to lure in graduate students and even professional academics that will answer the comparatively simpler beginner questions (something that will also present a challenge for them since the form of the communication itself demands a compact yet accessible answer). It happens in other sites, like the math.SE site. And it will obviously be beneficial for the undergraduate students. Which have more questions than anybody else.

In a nutshell, the site should be a meeting place mimicking the real world -where professors teach (and show-off) by answering questions, graduates exchange info by Q&A between them and hone their skills (and show off) by answering the questions asked by the undergraduates, which in turn show off by answering each others questions (being an economist, I don't have any reservation to explain peoples' actions as based on selfish and rather... not highly looked-upon incentives).

And by all means, it should include econometrics. Econometrics is to statistics what finance-economics is to economics : a sub-discipline with so many peculiarities that it has essentially branched-off.

My approach then can be summarized in the following name for the site:
"Α Q&A site for those who study, teach and research economics and econometrics."

I could of course start the proposal right away, but since there is a history (and contrary to the tendency in economics to ignore history), I thought it would be best to try to generate some discussion first (call it "definition in beta").

Anybody?

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I think this would be a great idea. I actually came here looking for an economic section of SE because My previous source of such information (reddit) has decayed into a hate-fest in My opinion. I would jump at the prospect of this if it happened.

  • Thanks for the positive support. As you can see you are the first to come on board. What strikes me as a bit strange is that none of the persons involved in the first attempt has offered a comment here, even negative/discouraging. An .SE site needs a lot of dedicated support to make it. By the way, what are your interests in economics? – Alecos Papadopoulos Oct 13 '13 at 2:44
  • @AlecosPapadopoulos: You're welcome. The absence of support is odd. I am generally interested in economics. – xuinkrbin. Oct 16 '13 at 2:14
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I agree. And my reasons for supporting the idea of rebooting economics are the following:

  1. There's basically no stable online community for solving economics problems on the Web. There're some topics on Quora, but they have their own specific: questions are more general, than a typical question on SE.
  2. A viable community requires some critical mass of participants, otherwise answerers will leave as having no questions to answer and questioners don't visit websites with no answer. And since economics is a rather mature field, we do need to start with general level. which may evolve later.

I believe @kyle-cronin (who offered to open the first economics.SE) can contribute a valuable opinion here.

(And yes, we can make it shorter: econ.SE.com.)

Update:

Two points on making it more responsive to the public:

  1. As @alecos-papadopoulos suggested, econometrics should be at the party. I think, it needs to separate itself from stats.SE and opendata.SE in terms of topics: identification strategies, parameters, design of experiments, data—all suit econ.SE.
  2. Non-academic topics. Previous economics SE actually had questions on popular macro (eg Greece)—a point worth to be expanded, as it attracts more participants.
  • Thanks Anton. econ.SE looks great, and "econ" is a standard shortcut for "economics" - more over it has the benefit of covering also "econometrics". I' am all for "econ.SE". – Alecos Papadopoulos Oct 21 '13 at 17:49
  • @AlecosPapadopoulos , In addition, I can commit some time to answering questions, but I don't know how econ.SE will do in general. – Anton Tarasenko Oct 21 '13 at 18:47
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    Thanks for the time offer Anton. In principle I agree with non-academic topics, although they have the danger of degenerating into answers that will be just mass media slogans. Perhaps we could create a tag... "applied theory" for these questions, and "press" the answerers to answer questions about current economic issues using the tools and concepts of economics, and not of politics, ideology, or the latest demagogic article of some public figure (even if the latter is a well known economist). – Alecos Papadopoulos Oct 21 '13 at 19:12
  • Surely, it would be better without typical ideological stuff. But economists typically manage to discuss sensitive topics within objective reasoning. (2) Overall, I would like to see a few more comments here by former participants of economics.SE. – Anton Tarasenko Oct 21 '13 at 19:22

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