Monday, July 30, 2018

More Brevity Needed in Think Tank Papers?

Think Tank Watch has read countless think tank papers over 100 pages long and would be happy to do so never again.  Should think tank reports be shorter?  Here is more from the Wall Street Journal about published economic papers being too long:

A backlash is building against inflation—the kind showing up in economics journals.
The average length of a published economics paper has more than tripled over the past four decades, and some academics are sick of wading through them. At this year’s American Economics Association conference, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor David Autor compared a 94-page working paper about the minimum wage to “being bludgeoned to death with a Nerf bat” and started a Twitter hashtag, #ThePaperIsTooDamnedLong.
“It was a very good paper,” Mr. Autor said in a later interview, but it set him off because it represented the “logorrhea of our current state of scholarship.”
Let’s get to the point: Economists want economists to talk less. The AEA announced last year it would launch a journal dedicated to publishing only concise papers, at least by economists’ standards—nothing longer than 6,000 words, or about 15 double-spaced pages. 
Between 1970 and 2017, the average length of papers published in five top-ranked economics journals swelled from 16 pages to 50 pages, according to an analysis by University of California, Berkeley economists Stefano DellaVigna and David Card. 

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post entitled "Does Anyone Actually Read Think Tank Reports?"

Here is Stephanie Evergreen on why no one is readying your report.

Tom Hashemi says that a forthcoming study will show that the average length of a think tank report in the UK and US is 42.5 pages.