Today Bank Underground celebrates its first birthday! We took our first steps into the blogosphere at 8:24am on Friday 19 June 2015. In our first year, we’ve published almost 100 posts and recorded over 400,000 views. So which posts have been most popular with our readers?
Our most viewed post to date has been one of our launch posts which looked at the impact of driverless cars on the insurance industry. Neha Jain, James O’Reilly and Nicholas Silk’s post pulled in over 13,000 hits, and was republished in Newsweek. Then last July, Lukasz Rachel and Thomas Smith argued that changes in global savings and investment could explain most of the fall in global real interest rates in a post that was cited in Mervyn King’s The End of Alchemy. In September, Fergus Cumming’s piece on helicopter money prompted a lot of discussion including from Simon Wren-Lewis, Martin Sandbu and others.
Posts on less well-trodden areas of economics have proven popular too. Earlier this year, Ben Norman and Pete Zimmerman looked back to the Irish Banking strike of 1970 when pubs turned into banks. Most recently, Dan Nixon’s post on the economics of mindfulness attracted widespread attention in the blogosphere and print media.
One key goal of the blog is to showcase more of the Bank’s analytical and research work, and to offer insight from a staff rather than a committee perspective. Howard Davies and Simon Wren-Lewis have noted the potential for central bank blogs to improve transparency and offer challenge to orthodoxies, but at the same time Tony Yates and others reminded us that this is a challenging goal to live up to.
Another key goal is to get the Bank more engaged with the debate on the blogosphere. In December we opened the blog up to comments from our readers allowing them to respond directly. Thanks to all our readers who’ve given their views by this medium. We’ve also appreciated those who have written pieces in response to our posts― even if they’ve disagreed with the analysis as, for example, Willem Buiter, Paul Krugman, and Eric Lonergan did. And when a Belgian journalist tweeted ‘You’re not going to find a better Christmas quiz than this one by the nerds at the Bank of England’ (my translation), we were quietly honoured.
We hope that we can develop our reputation as a source of innovative, interesting and independent thinking in the years ahead.
John Lewis is the Managing Editor of Bank Underground.
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Bank Underground is a blog for Bank of England staff to share views that challenge – or support – prevailing policy orthodoxies. The views expressed here are those of the authors, and are not necessarily those of the Bank of England, or its policy committees.