As Ronny Patz noted in a recent post , European blogs are still very much “unconnected”. That is, they use hyperlinks far less than their American counterparts or do it and in a way that doesn’t create two-way debate. In brief, Europe has bloggers, but no blogosphere: it lacks a living ecosystem to exchange and debate. Of most leading European blogs, only 1 in 5 were linked to other online content. This is a pretty striking number but one that is somewhat consistent with the use that Europeans make of blogs (ie. just another media but not an interactive one).
The Bruegel folks suggest there are both institutional reasons for this (European economists mostly publish in their home country newspapers) and cultural reasons (European economists don’t like to argue as much as American economists). And language plays a role. Still, it’s very peculiar. Can it really be true that European economists aren’t much interested in publishing online even after years of seeing how vibrant the American econ blogging scene is? Do they really shy away from arguing with each other? “European economists seem to prefer spreading knowledge rather than stirring debate,” say the Bruegel bloggers.
That’s…..admirable, if true, I suppose, but it doesn’t quite smell right. I don’t know anything about European economists in particular, but it’s certainly never been my experience that Europeans in general are more reticent than Americans. They always seemed to me like they had plenty of opinions and just as much love for bar stool arguments as Americans.
I wonder if there’s more to this?