Ostensibly, the mission of Econ Journal Watch "watches the journals for inappropriate assumptions, weak chains of argument, phony claims of relevance, and omissions of pertinent truths. Pointed, constructive criticism" in order to provide "pointed, constructive criticism." That seems like a noble endeavor. Yet, apparently business is slow, because in the last volume Econ Journal Watch decided to publish David O. Cushman's moderation of a blog argument between Mankiw, Delong, and Krugman. So I suppose now we should amend the name to Econ Journal and Blog Watch, which is a pretty herculean task.
A problem with Cushman's comment is that he attributed a position to Krugman that he never had, and Krugman voiced his displeasure. So they've given him even more space to try to explain why Krugman saying "growth should be higher after severe recessions" is the same as saying "I completely agree 1000% with the administration forecast." But don't focus so much on the note itself, focus on the fact that it is a note on a comment about a blog debate. Why is this worth journal space?
Mankiw, Delong and Krugman are having a legitimate academic debate and the beauty of blogs is that we get a sneak peek at those debates (and people aren't always nice). I thought the beauty of Econ Journal Watch was that it would be watching academic journals. It should be an outlet for all the interesting criticisms of papers that are too important to be left unpublished, but not important enough to end up in anything but an obscure journal. It should be publishing all the important comments that we worry journals themselves are rejecting (as it makes them look bad). For instance, if a slightly different model makes all of a papers results go away, and that model seems relatively justified, then we know that paper's results are at the least not very robust.
If David Cushman wants to moderate a blog debate, I think Econ Journal Watch should tell him that his own blog would be an appropriate outlet. On second thought, perhaps I should just lengthen the second paragraph into a few pages parsing the relevant quotes, and submit it to Econ Journal Watch. Think they'll publish a comment on a note on a comment on a blog debate?
HT: Tyler Cowen