As we all know, during our higher education careers there have been many professors who have assigned academic papers that require a minimum word or page count in some shape or form.
Personally, I feel this simply forces students to create "fluff" in their papers. I can understand creating a maximum word-count (this makes students sift out what they feel is relevant to answering the prompt of the paper) whereas a minimum word-count encourages one to think more broadly about how to go about the prompt. In some situations this is good -- perhaps the instructor expects evidence or more critical thinking -- but in most situations this will only lead students to find more evidence to reaffirm their claim (which is not very useful if you can prove your claim with less evidence) or create "fluff" in their paper in order to meet the requirement.
I found a blog post about word-counts for people writing stories/articles but this is in the professional world (not academic) and doesn't actually have statistics, but it does give some interesting perspective.
I want to know if there are any statistics or studies that prove specifying a minimum word-count is beneficial or hurtful in academic paper writing? Does it vary based on subject? Perhaps instructors can give their experience and/or thoughts on this?
So far there have been answers of people's experiences which is extremely beneficial and I encourage more of them. Inevitably though, I am hoping to accept an answer that has a case study or any research relevant to this topic.