Do older economists write differently?

The scholarly impact of academic research matters for academic promotions, influence, relevance to public policy, and others. Focusing on writing style in top-level professional journals, we examine how it changes with age, and how stylistic differences and age affect impact. As top-level scholars age, their writing style increasingly differs from others’. The impact (measured by citations) of each contribution decreases, due to the direct effect of age and the much smaller indirect effects through style. Non-native English-speakers write in different styles from others, in ways that reduce the impact of their research. Nobel laureates’ scholarly writing evinces less certainty about the conclusions of their research than that of other highly productive scholars.

Here is the full NBER paper by Lea-Rachel and Daniel S. Hamermesh.


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