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It’s Back: Blog your Job Market Paper!

Berk Ozler's picture

After last year’s inaugural Job Market Papers (JMP) Blog Series, we were not sure this year whether to repeat it or not. However, after David got a few queries about when it’s coming up this year, it looks as if the demand is there. After some discussion among the four DI bloggers, we decided that it’s worth doing it again and see how it goes.

Our biggest worry was about the time it took for us to vet papers last year and to work with you to revise your blog (sometimes multiple rounds), so we’ll change things up a bit this year to make the process smoother for everyone involved.

We will start accepting submissions – starting immediately. Below are the rules that you must follow, followed by some guidance/tips you should follow:

RULES

1.    Write a blog post on your job market paper. It should have a title that is not the title of your paper. Your topic should fit into a broad definition of development economics, i.e. it would not stand out from the rest of the posts on DI.

2.       Your post should not exceed 1,250 words and can include either one graph or one table.

3.       If you'd like to include a figure or a table, save it in a blank PPT slide, save the file as a .jpeg file, and send it separately. Send the rest of your submission in MS Word, Calibri 11.

4.       Your submission should therefore include your blog post, your paper (attached or linked to), the URL for your JM page, and a figure or table (as relevant) sent separately.

5.       The posts will appear as guest posts in the following format: "[TITLE]: Guest post by [NAME]" At the end of the post, please include a line that says something like: "[NAME] is a PhD student (post-doc) at [INSTITUTION]."

TIPS

1.       Check with your main thesis advisor to see whether they think this is a good idea. After they have agreed and you have spent a good amount of time putting together your blog post, run it by them, other faculty, several people who are graduate students and some mates who are not. Revise and revise before submitting. Our initial impression of your blog will largely determine whether we post it in Development Impact or not.

2.       Think of the process of writing this blog post as perfecting your “elevator pitch,” where the building is about 50-floors high. If you can craft a post that is an interesting story to which people would like to listen, you have succeeded. Stay away from dry, academic descriptions of your paper like the one on your JM webpage.

3.       The title and the first paragraph are usually the most important part of a blog post – I have received emails from people who told me they only read a certain post because of the title. So, spend some time on those to grab the reader with your introduction. If you want examples of what makes a popular post (in DI), click on a few of the links at the left hand side column under the heading “Most Popular.”

4.       It's a good rule of thumb to cite at least a couple of other papers from the literature motivating the question before getting to your own.

5.       Bulleted or numbered summaries seem to work well, but they are not for everyone or every paper.

6.       It’s perfectly OK for your blog to talk about one interesting thing about your paper – your contribution. Don’t try to summarize your entire paper, data, ID strategy, etc. Spend your energy on motivating the question, why it is interesting, and what you find. We'd like you to draw out any policy implications, as much as possible and/or feasible.

7.       Don't oversell your paper and don't speculate. Confront the weaknesses (of the data or methodology) in your paper head on and qualify your findings. You may have a one-paragraph sub-section titled “Limitations of the study.”

Once you have gone through your checklist to make sure that you followed all the rules and considered all the tips above, then send your materials via email to: developmentimpactblog@gmail.com. We plan to start posting JMP guest posts soon after Thanksgiving, so if we are interested in your blog post, you should hear back from us within a couple of weeks after your submission. If you have not heard from us, please do not email again. We will try to respond to each submission within a reasonable amount of time.