"The Briefest Abstract Award" Goes to …

Lawrence Christiano, Martin Eichenbaum, and Sergio Rebelo, for their new NBER working paper titled “When Is the Government Spending Multiplier Large?”

The abstract: “When the nominal interest rate is constant.”

Is this the only academic paper ever written where the total number of letters of the abstract (36) is less than the number of letters in either the title (42) or the authors’ names (46)?

I believe this is what is meant by “asked and answered.”

Here’s a PDF of an earlier draft, albeit with a slightly longer abstract.


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  1. Jeff says:

    I believe the Briefest Movie Review award goes to Leonard Maltin’s review of “Isn’t it Romantic?”, which consisted simply of the word “No.”

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  2. Eric M. Jones says:

    My coins usually wind up in jelly jars until I can get to a machine to turn them into electronic credits.

    On the eve of everything going electronic anyway…I note that I would be embarassed to leave a waitress (or anyone else who gets a tip) anything less than a dollar bill. If they give me coins in change I leave them on the counter for them to throw back into the till.

    So NO we don’t need a 37-cent coin, or any coins. Many nations have faced a situation where most of their coinage was worth less than the scrap metal price. So shall we.

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  3. Johan says:

    In the theory of optimal control, there is a very famous and important counter-example that was published by John Doyle in the late 1970’s:

    J. Doyle, “Guaranteed margins for LQG regulators”, IEEE Trans. on Automatic Control, 23:4, 756-757, (1978)

    Abstract: “There are none.”

    The article in it’s entirety was 1.5 columns of text. Google Scholar reports 300+ citations.

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  4. Dave says:

    Is there a point in reading the rest of the paper, then?
    Only if you need details.

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  5. aaron says:

    Now, “When is the nominal interest rate constant?”

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  6. aaron says:

    (I’m betting when goverment spending is low.)

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  7. kalevala says:

    There’s a working paper in physics by Hajdukovic and Satz called “Does the Ising Model in an External Field Show Intermittency?”
    The abstract used to be
    but it is changed into a phrase.

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  8. Peter Norvig says:

    Maltin was tied by Ginsberg and Geddis, whose 1991 paper
    “Is there any need for domain-dependent control information?” had the abstract “No”

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