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 (aejaccept@aeapubs.org), 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 (aejaccept@aeapubs.org).  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

Winter 2016 JEP

February 2016 AER

February 2016 AEJ: Policy

February 2016 AEJ: Micro

January 2016 AEJ: Macro

January 2016 AEJ: Applied

December 2015 JEL

Virtual Field Journals

In the News:

In a piece about the consequences of trade with China, the NYT Upshot blog covered a 2013 article from the American Economic Review. In The China Syndrome: Local Labor Market Effects of Import Competition in the United States, the authors compare different U.S. regions, some of which were exposed to new competition from Chinese imports during the 1990s and some of which were less affected thanks to a different industry mix. The more-exposed regions did see significantly more job losses over the 1990-2007 period, but the pain was eased by an increase flow of unemployment benefits and disability payments to these areas.

A recent episode of the Freakonomics podast about the gender pay gap cited past AEA president Claudia Goldin's 2014 presidential address. In A Grand Gender Convergence: Its Last Chapter, Goldin blames the bulk of the gender pay gap on firms' tendency to disproportionately reward employees who work very long hours, and who work particular hours. Certain sectors, like technology, science, and health, have been quicker to adopt new compensation schemes that are more flexible and less disadvantageous for part-time workers.

The Huffington Post covered a paper appearing in this month's issue of the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. In The Contribution of the Minimum Wage to US Wage Inequality over Three Decades: A Reassessment, the authors use updated data and a new methodological approach to study the link between wage inequality and the minimum wage. They find that a higher real minimum wage can reduce inequality, but that the effect is "substantially less" powerful than previously thought.

BBC News covered an article in the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics that takes a historical look at assassination attempts. In Hit or Miss? The Effect of Assassinations on Institutions and War, authors Benjamin Jones and Benjamin Olken find evidence that assassinations have had an impact on the growth of democracy and increased the intensity of wars, but also that successful assassination attempts are becoming more rare. The risk of assassination for heads of state peaked about 100 years ago but has fallen 70% since then.

In an article about tax subsidies for renewable energy sources, Vox cited a 2014 paper from the American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings. In How Effective Are U.S. Renewable Energy Subsidies in Cutting Greenhouse Gases?, the authors conclude that two major subsidy programs have reduced U.S. carbon emissions by only 0.3%. The effect is smaller than might be expected in part because the subsidies reduce the price of gas to motorists, which in turn encourages more gasoline use and more emissions.

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