AGING IN STYLE: Seniority and Sentiment in Scholarly Writing
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.
We have received no funding for this research. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.