In the econ literature, what is the convention when it comes to (not) hypenating some common terms like:

  • first(-?)best, second(-?)best,...
  • best(-?)response?
  • ...

The Economist suggests that "There is no firm rule to help you decide which words are run together, hyphenated or left separate" so I thought people here could be more aware of the conventions in econ than people, say, at http://english.stackexchange.com.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Personally for compound adjectives I would use "This response is second best" but "This is a second-best response". So long as you are not ambiguous, I doubt it matters. $\endgroup$
    – Henry
    Sep 20 '16 at 17:41
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Of all the responses to this question, I like the second best. $\endgroup$
    – Giskard
    Sep 20 '16 at 19:18
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's not about economics. It's about typographic conventions. $\endgroup$
    – 410 gone
    Sep 20 '16 at 19:55
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ My advice would be to get a good style guide, such as the Chicago manual and follow its advice. $\endgroup$
    – Ubiquitous
    Sep 21 '16 at 20:31

Plamen Nikolov of Binghamton University presents a brief treatment of this in "Writing Tips For Economics Research Papers". He notes that there are two basic rules of economic usage:

"Long run" (without a hyphen) is a noun. "Long-run" (with a hyphen) is an adjective. Same with short(-)run. and "Saving" (without a terminal s) is a flow. "Savings" (with a terminal s) is a stock.


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