Trevor Chow Blog Archive Newsletter About The Blog

Back-of-the-envelope low-quality musings: #takes


Longform stuff I've put time and thought into is at #effortposts.


To hear from academics and policymakers, #interviews.


Compiled scribbles on what I read can be found in #notes.


Topic-related tags include #economics, #coronavirus and #miscellaneous.

Hello, It's Me

14 Feb 2020

This is the brief story of why this blog came to be - although it’s dated to Feburary 14th, I actually wrote this on December 31st as a reflection on the year.

I’ve backdated it for two reasons. One is because I have now written enough that this post will buried under the many others that exist, meaning this rather private reflection remains reasonably private - hence why there are deliberately no tags on this. If you come across this, that means you were willing to scroll all the way down to my oldest blog post. Kudos. The other reason relates to why I started this blog - that is, Feburary 14th was the day I realised we were going to see an economic collapse worse than 2008 due to the pandemic.

This blog is borne out of COVID-19: in part, this was me wanting to prove that I had seen this coming and had called it; in part, this was the boredom of quarantine/lockdown driving me to do something intellectually stimulating; in part, this was me writing about my fear that we’d see the same thing we saw in 2008 i.e. austerity hawks holding back the fiscal response. And although we thankfully got over the stigma of the t-word (trillion), the spectre of austerity remains everpresent - it held back the CARES Act from being even more generous and nearly killed the second relief bill.

But crucially, though this blog came about in the first quarter of the year, it has taken on a life of its own as the year progressed. Some of this comes down to reading stories of how people were suffering on r/unemployment and elsewhere, as well as the broader realisation of how large of a human toll there was as a result of incompetent responses - the sense that the discourse around our economic policymaking remains utterly useless was a motivation to write about these things. Equally, I realised I actually quite liked synthesising content and explaining things - and perhaps, I was even alright at doing it.

I like to quantify things, so here’s the word count of posts in 2020 (from newest to oldest):

And here’s a graphical depiction, where I’ve excluded the GFC MOOC since it wasn’t exactly a post. Essentially, I averaged 1864 words per post, with a standard deviation of 1552. And as it turns out, I got over 11,000 views in 2020, with the 5 most popular posts of 2020 in descending order being: Mr Medlock and the Classics, Culture Wars and Epistemic Modesty, Ofqual and Offerholders, All that Glitters is Not Gold and The Next Recession. Blog Word Count

The result of this blog is that I’ve been followed by some people I admire on twitter, had the chance to talk to and interview a few academics, and most importantly, have met lots of cool people online who are equally interested in economics or policy! So here’s to a 2021 that is filled with more of these fascinating conversations, and less of what motivated the blog in the first place. Happy new year everyone!

PS: posts since this are below.

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