Researchers David J. McKenzie and Berk Özler investigated the impact of economics blogs. Their conclusions:
Economic blogs are doing more than providing a new source of procrastination for writers and readers. Using a variety of empirical approaches, we have provided the first quantitative evidence that they are having impacts. There are large impacts on dissemination of research – a link on a popular blog results in a substantial increase in abstract views and downloads, while a majority of economics blog readers say they have read a new paper in the past month as a result of a blog. There also appear to be benefits in terms of the bloggers becoming better known and more respected within the profession – bloggers are over-represented relative to their academic publication records in a poll of favorite economists, and readers of a new blog have become more aware of the researchers writing it. Finally, we find some evidence from our experiment that blogs influence attitudes and knowledge: readers of the new Development Impact blog think more highly of World Bank research and are more interested in working in this institution, and the average reader may have gained knowledge about the contents of recent research papers as a result of reading this blog.