The Internet and the Structure of Discourse: The Websites of Economists at Harvard and George Mason

Economics in Practice, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 272-283, 2007

12 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2007 Last revised: 1 Sep 2014

See all articles by Daniel Joseph D'Amico

Daniel Joseph D'Amico

Loyola University New Orleans - Joseph A. Butt S.J. College of Business - Economics Department

Daniel B. Klein

George Mason University - Department of Economics; George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Abstract

We investigate the websites of economists at Harvard University and George Mason University. We draw a contrast between the two departments by using Robert Nelson's distinction between the scholastic and the pietistic approaches to knowledge and discourse. Scholasticism is hierarchical in structure and tends to produce work that is inaccessible to lay readers. Pietism is flat in structure and strives to communicate directly with lay readers. The Internet enables economic discourse in the pietistic vein, notably direct communication with the laity and other forms of public discourse. From the economists' material found online, we count and compare publications of various types and the online availability of listed works. The data help to characterize Harvard as relatively scholastic and GMU as relatively pietistic. Our intention is not to criticize Harvard for being too scholastic, nor to celebrate George Mason (our home institution) for being pietistic. Our motivations are simply to advance some ideas about how the Internet might affect economic discourse and to suggest that the extent and forms of web utilization serve as a kind of metric on the scholastic-pietistic continuum.

Keywords: Internet, Websites, Economics, Faculty, Harvard University, George Mason University

JEL Classification: A2

Suggested Citation

D'Amico, Daniel Joseph and Klein, Daniel B., The Internet and the Structure of Discourse: The Websites of Economists at Harvard and George Mason. Economics in Practice, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 272-283, 2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1008991

Daniel Joseph D'Amico (Contact Author)

Loyola University New Orleans - Joseph A. Butt S.J. College of Business - Economics Department ( email )

6363 St. Charles Ave
Box 015
New Orleans, LA 70118
United States
561-870-5941 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.danieljdamico.com

Daniel B. Klein

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

HOME PAGE: http://economics.gmu.edu/people/dklein

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

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