1. Write simple, direct sentences whenever possible.
no one is impressed by a sentence they cannot understand. The quality
of your economic logic is what counts, not big
words or complicated sentences.
2. Rewrite and edit your first draft—and your second one, too.
Easy writing makes difficult reading. Revise your words if you want others to read them.
3. If its possible to cut out a word (or sentence), cut it out.
Cut material no matter how brilliant you consider it, if it does not advance the topic of your paper.
4. Make sure that every sentence has the three required parts: subject, verb, and object.
When possible, place the main idea (emphasis) of each sentence at its end.
5. Avoid excessive introduction and summary, overelaboration, or restatement of well-known ideas.
you have stated in direct terms what you intend to do in your paper, do
it. Many of the things that people write do not move
the discussion along to its ultimate objective, but merely take up space.
6. Use active verbs rather than passive ones to add life to your writing.
Delete the word "is" whenever possible and rewrite the sentence using an active verb.
7. Be concrete—give examples rather than discussing things in vague terms.
Discuss the supply and demand for gasoline, rather than the supply and demand for good X.
8. Do not use a lot of different words to express the same idea just for the sake of variety.
is far better to repeat a word than to use synonyms and confuse your reader.
repetition of important terms adds cohesion to your
9. Minimize use of doublets.
are two words that mean essentially the same thing, used alongside each
other in a sentence. Using the same ideas or
phrases when a single of solitary one would do is a certain and sure-fire way of writing an unreadable and confusing report. Pick
the best word and use it; do not say everything twice.
10. Avoid excessive use of This, That, These and Those.
most cases "the" will do nicely. Instead of saying "this," try repeating
the word it represents instead.
Thomas L. Wyrick, The Economist's Handbook: A Research and Writing Guide, Minneapolis/St Paul: West, 1994, adapted from Donald
McCloskey, "Economical Writing," Economic Inquiry (April 1985)
David Romer's Rules for Making It Through Graduate School and Finishing Your Dissertation
"Out in Five"
clutter up your life with other activities; just write.
Don't carry out a thorough and comprehensive search of the literature; just write.
Don't attempt to make sure that every page you write shows the full extent of your professional skills; just write.
Don't write a well-organized, well-integrated, unified dissertation; just write.
Don't think profound thoughts that shake the intellectual foundations of the discipline; just write.
If you don't have a paper started by the spring of your third year, be alarmed.
If you don't have a paper largely drafted by the fall of your fourth year, panic.
Have three new ideas a week while you are getting started.
Don't try to game the profession, work on what interests you.
Good papers in economics have three characteristics: