I came across a post with advice for graduate students on Greg Mankiw’s blog which links to a lot of interesting reading. Among Don Davis’s advice on finding research topics, I found the following phrase:
Most of economics is boring. No, I don’t mean this in the way that the public at large means it; on the contrary, I think that economics done well can be beautiful and fascinating. What I mean is that most writing on economics is boring because: (1) It does not address interesting questions; (2) It has nothing new to add that is itself important; or (3) Even if the researcher does in fact have something new and important to say, the researcher does such a poor job of articulating this that the reader has little chance of figuring this out.
I take this as another push toward working on writing well, and an indication that writing is very important when it comes to contributing to a science. Science is social, and contributing in a social setting means communicating; doing it well means communicating well, and writing is the way the important communication happens in economics. (I mean, a lot of communication goes on in seminars, on conferences, and workshops, and it is important to do that well too, but when it comes to contributing to the science, it’s the writing that matters, not your slick tounge.)