I have no direct knowledge of the situation, but here is an extensive report from Bloomberg. The summary headers are:
Paul Romer to give up management of research department
Researchers chafed against push to communicate more clearly
But there is more to the story than that. And here is the FT story:
But some said Mr Romer’s management style, particularly over what some saw as a dogmatic approach to clear writing, was key to the move, citing the recent spat over “and” as evidence.
Circulating a draft of the upcoming World Development Report, Mr Romer warned against bank staff trying to pile their own pet projects and messages into the report. The tendency, he argued, had diluted the impact of past reports and led to a proliferation of “ands”.
“Because of this type of pressure to say that our message is ‘this, and this, and this too, and that …’ the word ‘and’ has become the most frequently used word in Bank prose,” he complained in an email.
“A WDR, like a knife, has to be narrow to penetrate deeply,” he added. “To drive home the importance of focus, I’ve told the authors that I will not clear the final report if the frequency of ‘and’ exceeds 2.6%.”
The 2.6 per cent bar, Mr Romer told the FT, marked the current frequency of “and” in scholarly writing. It also, according to an analysis of bank reports going back decades that he commissioned, was roughly where World Bank report authors landed in the institution’s early years.
But the use of the word “and” over the years had doubled to almost 7 per cent in World Bank reports, Mr Romer pointed out in a January memo to his staff.
I will now have to be more conscious about the use of those three little letters…