The American Economic Review: DOs and DON'Ts
There is no recipe for getting a paper into the AER. However, here are a few tips for a smooth submission and review process:
- Please read the DON'Ts.
- If there are any special circumstances (e.g., potential conflicts of interest, history of the paper at a different journal, etc.) that you would like to communicate to the editors of the AER, please use the submission letter to do so. The letter should provide substantive reasons for your concerns other than "person X does not like the paper or this line of work."
- Please check your email in the first 10 days after you have submitted a paper to make sure that the AER staff has not contacted you about problems with the submission.
- If you have not heard from us within five months, please write to inquire about the status of your submission.
- Make sure that the AER is added to your "safe sender" list. Check your Junk Mail periodically to make sure that emails from the AER did not end up there. We communicate with authors only via email!
- Please read our submission guidelines before submitting a paper. This applies also to experienced submitters – our guidelines have changed in recent years. You can save time by making sure to: provide disclosure statements; state IRB approval when applicable (or reasons that such approval was not obtained); comply with our manuscript length guidelines; accept our data posting and replication policy or, when the data used is confidential, explain why your data cannot be made publicly available.
- If your paper uses confidential data, it is important to disclose this at the time of submission. The editors reserve the right to "un-accept" papers whose authors failed to disclose that the data was confidential at the beginning of the review process. If there are multiple coauthors on a paper, please check with the coauthors in charge of the data whether the data can be made publicly available.
- For submitters who are not in academia in particular: Please take the time to look at earlier issues of the journal to get a sense of the kind of papers we publish. The AER is an academic journal. We do not publish policy proposals, letters, or essays containing the authors' views on the economy, interesting as those may be.
- Please do not write lengthy submission letters explaining the contribution of the paper, listing citations in the popular press, etc. These have no bearing on the decision. Do not feel obligated to write a submission letter at all -- in the vast majority of cases, no submission letter is required.
- Do not suggest referees for your paper in the submission letter. Such suggestions are ignored.
- Do not address the submission letter to a particular coeditor unless this coeditor has solicited your paper (in which case you should indicate this in the submission letter). You are welcome to request a particular coeditor to handle your paper, but there is no guarantee that your request will be accommodated. Papers are assigned to coeditors by the editor-in-chief based on several considerations (including potential conflicts of interest and coeditor work loads).
- While you are free to contest a decision, please be aware that decisions are rarely reviewed unless they appear to have been based on an error of fact or logic. A judgment call is the prerogative of the editors. There are many other alternative outlets for work that may have been rejected by the AER.
- For graduate students in particular: Please do not submit early versions of your papers to receive comments. A promising, but unpolished, paper is likely to be rejected, and a rejection closes the door to future submission of an improved version (the AER has a policy of not reconsidering rejected manuscripts). Wait until you have received and incorporated comments you have received in seminars before submitting to journals.