Monday, April 13, 2009

Call for Contributors

With growing demands on my time I have scaled back on many endeavors including, most regrettably, cancelling plans to teach in Yerevan. And with so much to write about, the Blog can really use additional contributors.

Two contributors to the blog have been very helpful directly or on background in its success. Ara is a professor of economics in California, and worked at the Economic Institute of the Ministry of Finance and Economy of Armenia in 1991. Shushan is a fourth year PhD student in the US, and a graduate of the Yerevan State Institute of Economy; she contributed much of the lecture notes and data posted on But they too have heavy demands on their time.

Qualifications: The ideal candidate must be a professor, researcher, or an advanced graduate student. This can be a great opportunity for someone who wants to develop expertise and/or a research agenda on Armenia.

Purpose: The primary purpose of the blog is to encourage research and critical thinking. The majority of posted articles fall into one major category, namely to inform and educate. In its simplest form, a posted article may be viewed as the starting point or inspiration for a term paper, a thesis, or a research paper. Data are presented to establish a trend or a relationship between two or more variables, and an article concludes with a question or two for further research. This may seem a bit professorial but it is quite effective.

Politics: By its very nature, the government is responsible for the course of the economy. Care should be taken in making sure that critiquing policy is not the same as siding with those who oppose the government. But given that the average Armenian cannot separate economics from politics, you will not make anyone happy; just keep in mind the benefit to students and researchers.

Media: Generally, the media in Armenia is not independent; some are pro government and some oppose it. Therefore, no media outlet should be criticized directly even though most of the economy related news reported is biased (bus. related outlets such as ARKA are the exception). Foreign outlets are fair game.

Moderating: No political/partisan comments are allowed. There are some political activists who will push the envelop. The lesson learned from past experience is to draw a strict rule that would allow only comments relevant to the posted article and only if they contain some economic reasoning or shed further light on the topic.

Niche: This Blog is the only Armenia related outlet that provides data intensive analyses of economic activity. But this can be quite time consuming.

Topics: All topics listed in the header of the Blog are of interest. Armenia continues to be a blank sheet in terms of research coverage. With the exception of IMF/Worldbank economists, there is very little research visible. In addition, we know very little about the progress in economics training.

Hope you are interested in contributing. All work is voluntary, and the only compensation is the knowledge that you are helping a student or a researcher, or at the very least improving our understanding of economic activity in the country.

Please email me or just comment (not for print).


David said...

Thank you to those who posted this call on their sites. One person in Yerevan expressed her interest in contributing as of May. We certainly can use more.

HansG said...

Hi David,

good luck in finding someone. I follow your blog with great interest, and I think this a real service to a greater community.


David said...

Thanks Hans. The Georgians are very fortunate to have you and the team at ISET. Armenia continues to be a work in progress and I wish I had more time.