Since I like to promote things that are worthwhile I’m sharing my primary non-research information sources in this post. (Of course for research I reference the academic literature and government agency publications. Those are not included here.) The lists below include the best of what I read via RSS/Google Reader (mostly) and what I listen to via podcast (iPod). Everything listed is included in my rotating blogroll (far right sidebar). Beyond these my other main sources of news and information are Google News and NPR news programs. Also, I like Y Combinator’s Hacker News as a source for new, unusual, and interesting stuff on the web. (It is not just for hackers.) The only (non-academic) periodical I read regularly is The Atlantic.
Reading List. I read a lot of blogs in four main categories: health care policy, economics, politics/policy, and personal finance. Some blogs are cross disciplinary, but I’ll categorize them below according to the principal reason I read them (at least lately). I do not intend to give the impression that I read every post of every blog I follow. I don’t. I skim, sample, and ignore just as I would the content of a newspaper.
Of course, the best bloggers on the planet write on health care policy. For general health care policy news one can do no better than the Kaiser Health News service. Ezra Klein does the best job at putting health policy in political context (he blogs on many other important topics too). I’m also fond of Jonathan Cohn of The Treatment and Jonathan Chait (both at The New Republic). The latest addition to my health policy blog subscription list is Rational Arguments written by Aaron Carroll (Aaron’s take and mine are so closely aligned it is frightening). The following blogs round out my sources (in no particular order):
- The Alan Katz Health Care Reform Blog
- Health Affairs Blog
- Health Policy and Communications Blog (Michael Miller)
- Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review (Robert Laszewski)
- Healthcare Economist (Jason Shafrin)
- The Health Care Blog
- Daily Dose/Washington Post
- O’Neill Institute’s Legal Issues in Health Reform
The list of economics blogs to which I subscribe is also long. For its variety my favorite is NY Times’ Economix. I consider Paul Krugman required reading, both his NY Times blog and column. NPR’s Planet Money is a good source for the basics, though I prefer to take it in as a podcast (see below). One cannot be a serious economics blogger without reading Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok on Marginal Revolution, Brad DeLong, or Mark Thoma’s Economist’s View. And that’s only about half the economics blogs I follow. The rest include, in no particular order:
- Baseline Scenario (Simon Johnson, James Kwak)
- Econbrowser (James Hamilton, Menzie Chinn)
- EconLog (Arnold Kling, Bryan Caplan, David Henderson)
- Follow the Money (Brad Setzer)
- Greg Mankiw’s Blog
- The Money Illusion (Scott Sumner)
Many of the aforementioned blogs contain considerable political and policy content. For serious takes on all matters budgetary I follow the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, the CBO Director’s Blog (Douglas Elmendorf), and the OMB Blog (Peter Orszag). I also highly recommend Kevin Drum, Matt Yglesias, and The Wonk Room (Igor Volsky and others). For quantitative analysis of anything politically hot there’s no better source than FiveThirtyEight.com (Nate Silver and others). For pure politics, I consult Political Insider, Political Wire (both by Taegan Goddard), and Talking Points Memo (Josh Marshal and others). For the more academic political scientists’ take on matters, I read The Monkey Cage.
My favorite blogs for personal finance include The Finance Buff (where I got my start), The Oblivious Investor, and Get Rich Slowly (GRS is among the most popular). I’m also fond of the Bogleheads Investment Forum. Among finance blogs I read Bad Money Advice has the best blogging style. It’s author, “Frank Curmudgeon,” is simultaneously amusing and informative.
Listening List. I use my iPod to further my education and to stay informed, not for music. As with my blog subscriptions, I don’t listen through every episode of every program suggested below. If I’ve gotten the gist or an episode doesn’t interest me I move on.
My favorite podcast material to date includes that provided by Russ Roberts’ EconTalk (see my review) and Open Yale Courses (class reviews). I cannot imagine anyone not enjoying RadioLab (Jad Abumrad and Roger Krulwich). This American Life (Ira Glass with guests) is famously entertaining. I mentioned NPR’s Planet Money blog above, but I think the podcast is more fun. Fresh Air (Terry Gross) and On Point (Tom Ashbrook) are among the finest interview programs. Finally, Intelligence Squared is a well-crafted debate show, and The Ethicist (Randy Cohen) from The NY Times is amusing.
I’ve tried many other podcasts (most popular NPR shows, some other NY Times podcasts, some TV network Sunday morning political shows, some cable TV political comedy shows). They’ve all failed to sustain my interest and have fallen away. Though I’ve sampled a lot, I’m always searching for good stuff I haven’t tried. If there are any you like that I haven’t listed, please share them with me.