Here is my general policy about attributions, about sources:
I follow a small number of topics attentively. (The gender gap is one.) When I read anything regarding these topics I make a mental note of the rating I give the source: gold, silver, bronze, everything else. That’s easy to remember, even for a senior citizen-writer.
My rating scheme is not original. Gold goes to major, well respected scholarly journals that are peer-reviewed. The American Journal of Economics would be one. (In a later Comment, I will provide the link to my Facts Matter posting explaining in detail the process of peer reviewing.) Silver goes to second-tier also peer-reviewed journals. Social Forces – where my most important article was published – would be an example of a silver journal. Silver journals may be just as competitive as gold journals but they have less heft for a variety of reasons that are probably legitimate. Bronze sources include a wide variety of specialized scholarly journals such as Studies in Comparative International Development. Bronze ratings also go to signed items from the Wall Street Journal.
This bronze category does NOT include the New York Times. I almost stopped reading it completely in 2003 because of the Jason Blair scandal. I only read the NYT when I can steal it at the gym. Below the bronze category, there is everything else. I don’t give much credence, if any, to “Everything else.” When I use it at all, I try to give a warning.
Finding the sources on which I rely for one essay usually takes me as much time as writing two or three essays. My hands hurt; I have some important things to do; I have many unimportant things to do. I have to chose. Most of the time, I forgo the search for my sources through old files that make me sneeze unless several readers that matter ask for them. Readers that matter to me are mostly young, non-academics, and they give the impression of being open-minded.
I hope that some readers will be motivated by my essays to do their own research instead of passively accepting either my opinions or politically correct widespread beliefs. I am talking to the seekers not to those who are intent on perpetuating still powerful, yet barely breathing, nearly-dead ideologies. I sometimes fantasize of being accused – like Socrates – of “corrupting the youth.”
A personal note to finish. I had a long conventional scholarly career. I have little left to prove in that area. (See for yourself. There is a link to my vita on my blog Facts Matter.) I now want to do anything I wish and only that. Since I left academia in 2006, I have entered into a new, wonderful teaching enterprise. I have never felt more satisfaction than now because most my “students” (readers) are lively, intellectually engaged volunteers who talk back. This pleasure demands that I maintain a lively rhythm of posting. A few formal strictures have to be sacrificed for me to be able to maintain his rhythm. It’s well worth it. Let others try to do conventional scholarly postings on line. I wish them well.