AER: Editorial Policy

Learn about AER Editorial Policy, including Peer Review, Confidentiality, Editorial Handling, Disclosure, Data Availability, and Copyright

Manuscripts submitted to the American Economic Review are handled by an Editor, one of several Coeditors, and a staff located in Pittsburgh, using an online manuscript management software system. Papers are submitted online electronically, processed by the Pittsburgh office staff, and then distributed by the Editor to one of the Coeditors or to themselves to oversee the reviewing process and to make a publication decision. Papers are assigned on the basis of field of expertise of the Coeditor, combined with a variety of other considerations including equalization of work-load and conflict-of-interest rules. Once assigned, papers are handled by the designated Coeditor throughout the decision process. Before giving a revise and resubmit decision to any paper (or in case of doubt), the Coeditor in charge will consult a second Coeditor of their choosing. They remain the Coeditor in charge, and are free to decide however they want, but can use the input of the second Coeditor to reach a decision or to provide input in a potential revision letter. If the paper is accepted, the main Coeditor in charge will be identified in the acknowledgement note in the published article.

Peer Review, Confidentiality, and Editorial Handling

There are several rules that affect assignment of manuscripts.

Conflict of interest: Coeditor in charge

(i) Coeditors are recused from papers involving current colleagues at the same institution (regardless of department), as well as graduate students at the same institution.
(ii) Coeditors are recused from papers involving coauthors of current papers or papers published less than 2 years ago.
(iii) Coeditors are recused from papers involving untenured students that they advised.
(iv) Coeditors are recused from papers involving a family member.
(v) Coeditors must disclose any other close personal or professional relationship, even if not listed here (e.g. coauthor of a current project, former tenured student that the Coeditor is still close to, advisee of author etc.) which, in their opinion, create a conflict.

Conflict of interest: Consulting coeditor

(i) Coeditors are recused from consulting on papers involving colleagues in the same department, but can consult on papers from authors in different departments in the same institution.   
(ii) Coeditors are recused from consulting on papers involving untenured students they advised, if these students have graduated less than 3 years ago, or if the paper was part of the student’s dissertation.
(iii) Coeditors are recused from consulting on papers involving a family member.
(iv) Coeditors must disclose any other close personal or professional relationship, even if not listed here (e.g. coauthor of a current project, former tenured student that the Coeditor is still close to, advisee of author etc.) which, in their opinion, create a conflict to consult on the paper.

It is the responsibility of the Coeditor to identify conflict to the editor in charge. Authors can also signal conflict in their cover letter.  Papers falling into these categories are handled by the Editor or by a different Coeditor with appropriate procedures for confidentiality of refereeing.  Papers submitted by a Coeditor or the Editor are handled by a Guest Editor employing appropriate confidentiality procedures. The Guest Editor has full editorial discretion. If the paper is submitted by a Coeditor, the Editor invites a Guest Editor. If the paper is submitted by the Editor, a Coeditor invites a Guest Editor. Current Coeditors or the current Editor cannot serve as Guest Editor. If possible, the Guest Editor is drawn from former Editors or Coeditors of AEA journals or from members of the Board of Editors. The Guest Editor's name will appear as the official editor in the acknowledgement section of any published paper.

Manuscripts are reviewed in a single-blind fashion. The name of the author is revealed to the referee(s), while the referee(s) remain anonymous to authors.

Comments submitted to the Review are refereed both by the author of the article being commented on and by other referees. Replies to Comments are sent to the author of the Comment and to other referees. There is no automatic right to Reply; the author of a Reply must provide substantive and material discussion of the issues in question. Comments and Replies which appear only on the AER web page are also sometimes considered. These papers go through the same refereeing process as all Comments and Replies, but may be judged to be more appropriate for internet posting instead of publication in the printed AER.

Given the launch of the AER: Insights journal, the Review has discontinued the Shorter Papers section. Short papers may of course be submitted, and will be given full consideration (in fact, the AER would welcome short and impactful papers), but they will be published as regular papers.

Disclosure Policy

When submitting papers for peer review, all authors must provide Disclosure Statements, identifying potential conflicts of interest. If authors have nothing to disclose, they are obligated to submit a statement explicitly stating this. Disclosure Statements should also disclose whether IRB approval was obtained for the project, and if not, state the reason(s). For published papers, a brief summary of potential conflicts of interest should appear in the acknowledgements footnote. A more detailed account will be available on the journal's website, posted with the paper.

View the full Disclosure Policy >>

Data Legality Policy

All data used in papers published in journals of the American Economic Association should be legally acquired. The (co-)editor handling a paper may reject it if some or all of the data used in the paper were not legally obtained.

View the full Data Legality Policy (effective July 2023) >>

Data and Code Availability Policy

It is the policy of the American Economic Association to publish papers only if the data and code used in the analysis are clearly and precisely documented; access to the data and code is clearly and precisely documented, and is non-exclusive to the authors.

Authors of accepted papers that contain empirical work, simulations, or experimental work must provide, prior to acceptance, information about the data, programs, and other details of the computations sufficient to permit replication, as well as information about access to data and programs.

Data and programs should be archived in the AEA Data and Code Repository. Authors will provide access to editors and reviewers, if requested, to both data and programs prior to acceptance. The Editor should be notified at the time of submission if access to the data used in a paper is restricted or limited, or if, for some other reason, the requirements above cannot be met. The AEA Data Editor will assess compliance with this policy, and will verify the accuracy of the information prior to acceptance by the Editor.

View the full Data and Code Availability Policy >>


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