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this is another one of these "my-thesis-has-weird-restrictions-on-citations" posts. I use biblatex-chicago.

So in my case, I have the following rules:

  1. When there are 1 or 2 authors, always name both with "and" or "&"
  2. When there are 3 to 6 authors, in the first citation name all of them, after that only the first with "et. al."
  3. When there are more than 6 authors, only name the first with "et. al." but name all of them in the bibliography

So 1. is no big problem, because biblatex does it on its own with the argument authordate. The third I solve with the arguments mincitenames=1 and maxcitenames=6

So right now it looks like this in my preamble. But I´m stuck on the second one. Any ideas how I can solve that without diving to deep in the code of biblatex?

\usepackage[authordate, backend=biber, uniquename=false, mincitenames=1, maxcitenames=6]{biblatex-chicago}
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As Alan Munn commented, the desired number of names in citations you describe seem to follow APA rules. If the rest of your style is also APA (or very APA-like), you may want to think about using biblatex-apa

\documentclass[british]{article}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage{babel}
\usepackage{csquotes}

\usepackage[style=apa, backend=biber]{biblatex}

\addbibresource{biblatex-examples.bib}


\begin{document}
\cite{nussbaum,sigfridsson,companion,aksin}

\cite{nussbaum,sigfridsson,companion,aksin}

\printbibliography
\end{document}

Aksın et al., 2006; Goossens, Mittelbach and Samarin, 1994; Nussbaum, 1978; Sigfridsson and Ryde, 1998//Aksın et al., 2006; Goossens et al., 1994; Nussbaum, 1978; Sigfridsson and Ryde, 1998


You can try to emulate a similar cite name scheme by setting maxcitenames=2 and changing the value of the maxnames counter locally to 6 for the first citation (as tracked by \ifciteseen and citetracker). That should work for both biblatex-chicago and the standard styles.

\documentclass[british]{article}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage{babel}
\usepackage{csquotes}

%\usepackage[style=authoryear, maxcitenames=2, backend=biber, citetracker]{biblatex}
\usepackage[authordate, backend=biber, uniquename=false, mincitenames=1, maxcitenames=2, citetracker]{biblatex-chicago}

\addbibresource{biblatex-examples.bib}

\makeatletter
\AtEveryCitekey{%
  \ifciteseen
    {}
    {\defcounter{maxnames}{6}}%
}
\makeatother

\begin{document}
\cite{nussbaum,sigfridsson,companion,aksin}

\cite{nussbaum,sigfridsson,companion,aksin}

\printbibliography
\end{document}

Nussbaum 1978; Sigfridsson and Ryde 1998; Goossens, Mittelbach and Samarin 1994; Aksın et al. 2006//Nussbaum 1978; Sigfridsson and Ryde 1998; Goossens et al. 1994; Aksın et al. 2006

See also @Audrey's answer to biblatex – et al. beginning from second citation? and @samcarter's answer to How to get et al. beginning with the 2nd citation with biblatex-chicago. biblatex - et. al for specific cases might also be relevant.


That all said, you mention the American Economics Review in the comments and a short google search leads to https://www.aeaweb.org/journals/aer/submissions/accepted-articles/styleguide which suggests

LaTeX authors should refer to either: http://www.aeaweb.org/templates/latex_templates.zip for the LaTeX template (tex). Or, if you wish to have the ability to collaborate with Scientific Word authors, please use: http://www.aeaweb.org/templates/latex_sw-supported.templates.zip Please be sure to include the .aux file and .bbl if available.

and later

LaTeX and Scientific Word users, please use the aea.bst file provided in the template package.

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