University News

WIU Economics Professor Participates in Wall Street Weblog

September 30, 2005

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MACOMB, IL - - William Polley, an assistant economics professor at Western Illinois University, knows the new age of educational weblogging reaches further than his classroom.

He recently was invited to participate in a Wall Street Journal online feature edition called "Econoblog," which came about in recognition of the growing number of professional economists who have weblogs or "blogs" where they post economic commentary. Blog commentary by economists ranges from scholarly research to political comments from an economist's perspective. Many academic economists who blog also regularly discuss issues related to the teaching of economics.

Polley has kept a weblog for approximately one year and has been actively promoting it for the last several months. He posts considerable amounts of commentary on Federal Reserve policies and has had his comments quoted by several other academic economist bloggers. After the Wall Street Econoblog editor noticed some of his posts regarding the gasoline price increases after Hurricane Katrina, Polley was asked to collaborate with Russell Roberts of George Mason University on the topic of economic literacy.

Over a two-day period, Polley and Roberts exchanged e-mail messages that were then posted in conversation format on the Wall Street Journal’s online edition.

“Actually carrying on the conversation over just two days is a very intense activity,” said Polley. “Since both of us had classes to teach and meetings to attend, it meant that we only had a couple hours to devote to each post.”

Because of these time constraints, there was also no time for editing the posts. However, Polley said that is what makes the Econoblog feature so interesting to readers -- it truly feels as if you are listening to a conversation.

“Roberts and I both have strong opinions on the importance of being economically literate in today’s society, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to share those opinions with readers of the Wall Street Journal’s website,” said Polley. “It was a great experience.”

The Sept. 21 Econoblog “Knowledge Deficit” is available at,,SB112730197267947236,00.html?mod=todays%5Ffree%5Ffeature

Polley, who is in his first year at Western, earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and mathematics from Concordia College (MN) and his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.

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