Dec 24, 2014

Economical writing (or, "Think Hemingway") in Scientometrics

Scientometrics published the paper.
Salant (J Polit Econ 77(4):545–558, 1969) complained that on many occasions he found the writing of his fellow economists “nearly incomprehensible,” and made suggestions to improve economists’ writing skills (and, by extension, those of natural and social scientists in general). Among other things, he argued that good writers tend to use shorter words. We call this “the Salant hypothesis,” and use standard statistical techniques to test this claim by comparing the average length of words used by Nobel laureates in their banquet speeches. We find that Literature laureates tend to use shorter words than laureates in other disciplines, and the difference is statistically significant. These results support Salant’s idea that words should be used efficiently. This includes using short words instead of longer ones whenever possible. In short, good writing is also “economical writing.”
A draft is here.

Merry Christmas!

1 comment:

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