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Secrets of Economics Editors

Michael Szenberg

Publication Year: 2014

Editors of academic journals are often the top scholars in their fields. They are charged with managing the flow of hundreds of manuscripts each year -- from submission to review to rejection or acceptance -- all while continuing their own scholarly pursuits. Tenure decisions often turn on who has published what in which journals, but editors can accept only a fraction of the papers submitted. In this book, past and present editors of economics journals discuss navigating the world of academic journals. Their contributions offer essential reading for anyone who has ever submitted a paper, served as a referee or associate editor, edited a journal -- or read an article and wondered why it was published. The editors describe their experiences at journals that range from the <I> American Economic Review</I> to the <I> Journal of Sports Economics</I>. The issues they examine include late referee reports, slow resubmission of manuscripts, and plagiarism -- as well as the difficulties of "herding cats" and the benefits of husband-wife editorial partnerships. They consider the role of the editor, as gatekeeper or developer of content; and they advise authors to write more carefully and clearly, to include citations that locate their articles in the context of the existing literature, and to update their work after it has been submitted and rejected elsewhere. The chapters also offer a timely, insider's perspective on the general effectiveness of the system of academic journals in economics. <B>Contributors</B>Richard V. Adkisson, Richard G. Anderson, William A. Barnett, Suzanne R. Becker, William R. Becker, Daniel W. Bromley, William G. Dewald, Antony W. Dnes, Zvi Eckstein, Richard Friberg, Esther Gal-Or, Craufurd Goodwin, Thorvaldur Gylfason, Campbell R. Harvey, Geoffrey M. Hodgson, Leo H. Kahane, R. Preston McAfee, John Pencavel, Gerald Pfann, Steven Pressman, Lall B. Ramrattan, J. Barkley Rosser Jr., Paul H. Rubin, William F. Shughart II, Robert M. Solow, Daniel F. Spulber, Michael Szenberg, Timothy Taylor, Abu N.M. Wahid, Michael Watts, Lawrence J. White, Jürgen von Hagen, Fabrizio Zilibotti

Published by: The MIT Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-x

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Robert M. Solow

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pp. xi-xiv

I would have made a lousy journal editor. At the simplest level, these essays demonstrate convincingly that editing an economics journal is a formidable managerial project. Hundreds of submissions arrive each year. They have to be channeled to appropriate—knowledgeable but not too opinionated—associate editors and referees. In turn, the referees have...

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xviii

Marcus Tullius Cicero wrote of Socrates that he called down philosophy from the skies and implanted it in the cities and homes of men. The purpose of this volume is to spread and extend the wisdom of the editors assembled here to all who are interested in the workings of scholarly journals. When the Danish architect Arne Jacobson designed St. Catherine’s...

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Introduction: What Editors Do and Want to Tell Us

Michael Watts

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pp. 1-30

Being named the editor of a respected academic journal is a clear signal of ability and professional esteem on many dimensions, in almost all cases including a long and well-known record of scholarship in a field or subfield. The past and present editors who have contributed chapters to this volume are a highly successful group of mostly senior economists, many...

Economic Theory and Finance

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1. A Decade of Editing the European Economic Review

Zvi Eckstein, Esther Gal-Or, Thorvaldur Gylfason, Jürgen von Hagen, Gerard Pfann

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pp. 33-44

The European Economic Review (EER) was launched 1969 as the first research journal that aimed to contribute to the development and application of economics as a science in Europe. As a broad-based professional and international journal, the EER welcomes submissions of applied and theoretical research papers in all fields of economics. Its...

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2. The Wish List of an Editor: Some Reflections on Editing the Scandinavian Journal of Economics

Richard Friberg

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pp. 45-52

The Scandinavian Journal of Economics (SJE) was started in 1899. It has gone through a couple of name changes and switched from Swedish to English, but its tradition is unbroken and has been nicely summarized by Mats Persson (1998). About two years ago, Persson called me to discuss something that was too important to deal with over the phone. There...

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3. Edifying Editing

R. Preston McAfee

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pp. 53-66

I have spent a considerable amount of time as an editor. I have rejected about 2,500 papers and accepted 200. No one likes a rejection, and fewer than 1 percent of authors consider it justified. Fortunately, there is some duplication across authors, so I have made only around 1,800 enemies.
The purpose of this chapter is to answer in print the questions I frequently...

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4. Reflections on Editing the Journal of Finance, 2006 to 2012

Campbell R. Harvey

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pp. 67-82

If the American Economic Review is a fire hose, then the Journal of Finance is a tsunami. In my first year as editor of the Journal, I handled 1,275 manuscripts. If one takes into account papers that are revised and resubmitted, that figure is even larger. Over my six years (2006 to 2012) as editor, I handled approximately 7,500 submissions. Even at the point...

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5. Journals, Editors, Referees, and Authors: Experiences at the Journal of Economic Literature

John Pencavel

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pp. 83-96

I have been invited to write about my experiences as editor of the Journal of Economic Literature (JEL) and to reflect on what these experiences may mean for the status of journals in intellectual inquiry. I was editor of the JEL for thirteen years from 1986 to 1998. Before becoming editor, for four years, I served as associate editor under the editorial supervision...

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6. Memoirs of an Editor

Fabrizio Zilibotti

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pp. 97-118

I was a managing editor of the Review of Economic Studies (ReStud) from 2002 to 2006. Since 2009, I have been the chief editor of the Journal of European Economic Association (JEEA). Both the ReStud and JEEA are nonprofit journals, and they are owned, respectively, by an independent society and by the European Economic Association. In this chapter, I...

History of Economics

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7. On Editing the History of Political Economy

Craufurd Goodwin

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pp. 121-132

Some general-interest journals in economics (such as the American Economic Review, Southern Economic Journal, and Economic Journal) were established by professional associations, and others by prominent universities (for example, the Journal of Political Economy, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, and Economica). Field journals have emerged...

Microeconomics and Industrial Organization

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8. On Turning Twenty: The Journal of Economics & Management Strategy Comes of Age

Daniel F. Spulber

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pp. 135-148

As I write this reminiscence, the Journal of Economics & Management Strategy (JEMS) is reaching a milestone: it is turning twenty. It has been a terrific journey thus far, and yet I feel that it is only just beginning. I have had occasion to think about the journal’s beginnings, the many events that have happened over the last two decades, and the things that...

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9. Reflections on Being a Journal Editor

Lawrence J. White

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pp. 149-160

Journal editors serve as gate keepers for any academic discipline because journals are important vehicles for the spreading of ideas and information within the discipline. For many disciplines, they provide indicia of the professional standing of faculty at colleges and universities. These characteristics of journals are probably more important for the economics...


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10. The Internal Politics of Journal Editing

William A. Barnett

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pp. 163-170

I have been invited to write an essay on my experiences as founder and editor of the Cambridge University Press journal Macroeconomic Dynamics. I have decided to focus the essay on my experiences in starting up the journal. Few economists who have not themselves started a new journal are aware of the nature of the process and its sometimes complicated...

Methodology of Economics

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11. Reptilian Economists of the World Unite: A Tolerance Manifesto

Richard V. Adkisson

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pp. 173-188

A graduate school colleague, Les Manns, was prone to refer to certain others in the economics profession as big lizards. We never really discussed the definition of big lizard, but the term seemed to refer to economists who were regularly published, held offices in professional organizations, had a reputation beyond the department, and were actively...

Managerial Economics

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12. Notes from a Second-Line Journal: Suggestions for Authors

Paul H. Rubin, Antony W. Dnes

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pp. 191-196

One of us has been editor in chief of Managerial and Decision Economics (MDE) since 1994, and the other has been European coeditor since 2000. It is a fact of life that most of the papers that we receive have been rejected elsewhere. Because the mainline journals in economics and business have very low acceptance rates, on the order of 10 percent or...

Money and Banking

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13. Replication and Reflection: A Decade at the Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking

William G. Dewald, Richard G. Anderson

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pp. 199-212

In 1975, with reluctance, I accepted the editorship of the Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking (JMCB), which at the time was the flagship journal in monetary economics and banking. It was founded by Karl Brunner in 1969.1
Let me recount how the editorship was offered to me. Karl wanted to take the journal with him to Rochester University when...

Urban Economics

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14. Epistemic Flagpoles: Economics Journals as Instrumental Rhetoric

Daniel W. Bromley

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pp. 215-228

Deirdre McCloskey (1983) has made a number of profound contributions to economics. Nothing in her prodigious output can match the masterful article offering clarity on the word rhetoric. Clarity, however, brought anxiety: “You mean economics is concerned with trying to persuade? Here I thought we were pursuing (and publishing) truth.” But as...

Economics of Public Choice

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15. Supplying Private Goods and Collective Goods at Public Choice

William F. Shughart II

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pp. 231-248

Public Choice, under the title Papers on Non-Market Decision Making, was launched at the University of Virginia (UVA) by Gordon Tullock in 1966 (Rowley and Houser 2012 , 16). Apparently at the suggestion of William C. Mitchell (Simmons 2011, xiii), the journal was given its present name in 1969, coincident with the establishment of the Center...

Economics of Sports

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16. The Journal of Sports Economics

Leo H. Kahane

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pp. 251-258

This chapter, I suspect, is distinct from most others in this collection in that I am the editor of a journal and also one of its founders. The Journal of Sports Economics (JSE) was borne out of a 1997 conversation I had in the hallway at California State University at East Bay.1 I had just put the finishing touches on my first sports economics paper (Idson and...

Economic Development

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17. My Experiences as Editor of the Journal of Developing Areas

Abu N. M. Wahid

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pp. 261-268

An introduction may not be irrelevant for this chapter. When I opened my email on June 13, 2012, I saw that a message had just arrived from Michael Szenberg and was waiting to be opened in my inbox. I was not expecting this email but recognized his name and opened the mail with much interest and enthusiasm. When I started reading the message, I was...

Economics of Education

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18. Potpourri: Reflections from Husband and Wife Academic Editors

William E. Becker, Suzanne R. Becker

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pp. 271-280

When we were invited to contribute to this series on experiences of journal editors in academe, Bill said to Suzanne, “I have stories to tell about poor scholarship and the possible demise of economic education as a scholarly activity, and you have stories to tell about dealing with professors, the maiming of the English language, and catching errors.” We...

General Economics

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19. Helping the Homeless: Reflections on Editing Journals outside the Mainstream

Geoffrey M. Hodgson

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pp. 283-296

Some essays in this volume are distillations of the experiences of editors of prominent mainstream journals in economics. By contrast, this article concerns the experiences of an editor of less prestigious publications that might develop the subject in a different direction. Although concerns about rigor and quality are shared, the problems of carving out a space...

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20. Econ Agonistes: Navigating and Surviving the Publishing Process

Steven Pressman

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pp. 297-310

Let me begin this article with a brief summary of my qualifications. During my career, I have refereed nearly three hundred articles for professional journals and as a journal editor have made decisions on more than a thousand papers. I have edited several symposia and special issues for economics journals and for refereed journals in other disciplines. Since...

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21. Tales from the Editor’s Crypt: Dealing with True, Uncertain, and False Accusations of Plagiarism

J. Barkley Rosser Jr.

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pp. 311-328

I am writing this in December 2010, my final month as editor of the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization (JEBO), having first assumed this position effectively in August 2001.1 It has been a mostly rewarding experience but has become increasingly time-consuming as submissions have approximately doubled over this period. To handle a...

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22. An Instructive Case in Referencing, Priority Conflict, and Ethics: The Role of an Editor in a Scholarly Journal

Michael Szenberg

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pp. 329-334

It is an editor’s role to probe and dissect and to do so in a way that does not encourage distortions or embellishments. To fulfill this role suitably, the editor must adhere to a high standard of ethics. The assessment and especially the scrutiny of the publication process are of vital concern to scientists because scholarly journals are the mainstays of scientific communication, and...

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23. An Editor’s Life at the Journal of Economic Perspectives

Timothy Taylor

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pp. 335-354

In spring 1984, I was a disgruntled graduate student of the standard make and model on my way to bailing out of Stanford University’s Ph.D. program in economics with what I regarded as a consolation master’s degree. I was clueless about my future career path, except that it seemed clear that my road would not travel through academia. In 1986, I started...

The Journal Editorial Cycle and Practices

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24. The Journal Editorial Cycle and Practices

Lall B. Ramrattan, Michael Szenberg

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pp. 357-368

Editors and authors both recognize that way that journals function needs to improve. Scholarly journals are the mainstays of scientific communication, and publication in them by academicians is the primary route to promotion, tenure, salary increases, recognition, and mobility. The scrutiny and assessment of the publication process is therefore of vital concern...


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pp. 369-372


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pp. 373-390

E-ISBN-13: 9780262320115
E-ISBN-10: 0262320118
Print-ISBN-13: 9780262525466

Page Count: 408
Publication Year: 2014

OCLC Number: 870272356
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Secrets of Economics Editors

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