Thursday, September 23, 2004

Does the blogosphere substitute for peer review? 

After posting this lunchtime I got thinking about this reading one of Prof. Lambert's last comments on the discussion of the Lott and Hassett paper (with which I am done for now.) Remarking on the Lott and Landes paper he says,

To get some sort of idea on when this might be published we could look at Lott's study on multiple victim public shootings where he claimed that there was a 78% reduction in such shootings after carry laws were passed. It was posted to SSRN in 1999 and is the most downloaded paper there (37099 downloads).

It has not been published in a journal.

To put the question simply: How many professional, peer-reviewed journals have that many readers? And wouldn't that many readers lead to a form of peer review? I am not sure why it makes that big a difference if the distribution of the paper is that wide. A Google search that kicks up the paper at the top also gets 522 other hits. I've been published in a few top-50 peer reviewed journals, and I didn't get nearly that much coverage. Not that I'm complaining {sniff}.

The Journal of Interesting Economics sort of bridges between the two worlds.