American Economic Journals: Data Availability Policy

Data Availability Policy

It is the policy of the American Economic Journal to publish papers only if the data used in the analysis are clearly and precisely documented and are readily available to any researcher for purposes of replication. Authors of accepted papers that contain empirical work, simulations, or experimental work must provide to the American Economic Journal, prior to publication, the data, programs, and other details of the computations sufficient to permit replication. (For AEJ: Economic Policy, authors of accepted papers must also provide tables containing empirical results referred to but not presented in the paper.) These will be posted on the AEJ Web site. The Editor should be notified at the time of submission if the data used in a paper are proprietary or if, for some other reason, the requirements above cannot be met.

As soon as possible after acceptance, authors are expected to send their data, programs, and sufficient details to permit replication, in electronic form, to the AEJ office. Please send the files via e-mail to Annette (, indicating the manuscript number. Questions regarding any aspect of this policy should be forwarded to the Editor.

Our policies differ somewhat for econometric and simulation papers, and for experimental papers.

For econometric and simulation papers, the minimum requirement should include the data set(s) and programs used to run the final models, plus a description of how previous intermediate data sets and programs were employed to create the final data set(s). Authors are invited to submit these intermediate data files and programs as an option; if they are not provided, authors must fully cooperate with investigators seeking to conduct a replication who request them. The data files and programs can be provided in any format using any statistical package or software. Authors must provide a Readme PDF file listing all included files and  documenting the purpose and format of each file provided, as well as instructing a user on how replication can be conducted.

If a request for an exemption based on proprietary data is made, authors should inform the editors if the data can be accessed or obtained in some other way by independent researchers for purposes of replication. Authors are also asked to provide information on how the proprietary data can be obtained by others in their Readme PDF file. A copy of the programs used to create the final results is still required.

For experimental papers, we have a more detailed policy, including requirements for submitted papers as well as accepted papers. We normally expect authors of experimental articles to supply the following supplementary materials (any exceptions to this policy should be requested at the time of submission):

1. The original instructions. These should be summarized as part of the discussion of experimental design in the submitted manuscript, and also provided in full as an appendix at the time of submission. The instructions should be presented in a way that, together with the design summary, conveys the protocol clearly enough that the design could be replicated by a reasonably skilled experimentalist. For example, if different instructions were used for different sessions, the correspondence should be indicated.

2. Information about subject eligibility or selection, such as exclusions based on past participation in experiments, college major, etc. This should be summarized as part of the discussion of experimental design in the submitted manuscript.

3. Any computer programs, configuration files, or scripts used to run the experiment and/or to analyze the data. These should be summarized as appropriate in the submitted manuscript and provided in full as an appendix when the final version of a manuscript is sent in. (Data summaries, intermediate results, and advice about how to use the programs are welcome, but not required.)

4. The raw data from the experiment. These should be summarized as appropriate in the submitted manuscript and provided in full as an appendix when the final version of an accepted manuscript is sent in, with sufficient explanation to make it possible to use the submitted computer programs to replicate the data analysis.

Other information, such as applications to Institutional Review Boards, consent forms, or Web signup and disclosure forms, is not required or expected. If it desired to make this kind of information public, it should be posted on laboratory or authors' Web sites.

If the paper is accepted by the AEJ, the appendices containing instructions, the computer programs, configuration files, or scripts used to run the experiment and/or analyze the data, and the raw data will normally be archived on the AEJ Web site when the paper appears.

Instructions for Sending Data, Appendices, Additional Materials, Final Manuscripts, and Figures 

Please label your files before e-mailing them to Annette (  Each file name should clearly indicate if the file is a “manuscript,” “data,” “appendix,” “figures,” or “additional materials.” Each file should contain the manuscript number (which should also be included in the subject line of the e-mail).

Contents of Current Issues

Fall 2015 JEP

November 2015 AEJ: Policy

November 2015 AEJ: Micro

November 2015 AER

October 2015 AEJ: Macro

October 2015 AEJ: Applied

September 2015 JEL

Virtual Field Journals

In the News:

The Boston Globe covered an article in the American Economic Review about the difficulty of crafting effective environmental regulations. In Clearing the Air? The Effects of Gasoline Content Regulation on Air Quality, authors Maximilian Auffhammer and Ryan Kellogg study a measure to reduce ozone pollution by restricting volatile organic chemical (VOC) emissions. They find that the regulation gave businesses so much flexibility that they could continue emitting the most harmful VOCs and still be in compliance by reducing other VOCs.

Quartz covered a recent piece in the Journal of Economic Perspectives about the declining quality of government survey data. In Household Surveys in Crisis, the authors highlight several problems in household surveys, including low response rates and measurement error. They call for increased use of administrative data (like payment records from the Food Stamp Program and the Social Security Administration) to complement and verify survey results.

The Upshot blog cited a recent article in the American Economic Review. In Health Insurance for "Humans": Information Frictions, Plan Choice, and Consumer Welfare, the authors find that employees at a large firm with various health insurance plans had numerous misconceptions about the offered plans. These misconceptions were found to significantly distort some employees' choices about which plan to take up.

The Christian Science Monitor covered a paper from the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy about the effects of early school start times on student achievement. In A's from Zzzz's? The Causal Effect of School Start Time on the Academic Achievement of Adolescents, the authors study cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy, which features random assignment of course schedules, mandatory attendance, and uniform grading standards. They find that students assigned to a course starting before 8 AM on a given day of the week had significantly worse grades in all courses taken that day.

Bloomberg covered a July article in the American Economic Review by Heidi Williams, who was recently named a 2015 MacArthur Fellow. In "Do Firms Underinvest in Long-Term Research? Evidence from Cancer Clinical Trials," Williams and her coauthors find evidence that cancer pharmaceutical research is distorted toward projects with short-term payoffs. See our highlight of the paper here.

A recent study on the relationship between new roads and traffic from the American Economic Review was cited in The Atlantic. In The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from US Cities, authors Gilles Duration and Matthew Turner find that new lanes on interstate highways and other major roads are quickly filled with new cars and trucks and do not tend to reduce congestion. They conclude that congestion pricing, rather than roadway construction, is the most promising tool for combating persistent traffic.

Three articles on the future of automation and labor markets from last month's Journal of Economic Perspectives symposium were featured on the Free Exchange Blog in the Economist.

AEA in News Archive

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