About American Economic Review: Insights

November 28, 2017:  AER: Insights is designed to be a top-tier, general-interest economics journal publishing papers of the same quality and importance as those in the AER, but devoted to publishing papers with important insights that can be conveyed succinctly.

Papers in economics have grown substantially in length over the last four decades, leaving little scope to publish the important paper whose central contribution can be concisely presented. Yet, sometimes the most important findings are those that require little space. Paul Samuelson's landmark paper on the efficient provision of public goods was only three pages in the 1954 Review of Economics and Statistics. Further afield from economics, Watson and Crick's discovery of the Double Helix was presented in less than two pages in the 1953 Nature.

AER: Insights will target the turnaround times of the most efficient journals in our profession—with an aim to get all first responses within three months at most. More novelly, first responses will be either a reject or a "conditional accept," with no lengthy responses to referees required nor a second round of comments from referees on the revision. The Editor's requests with a conditional accept will be limited to expositional changes only; to self-enforce this norm, editors will ask for revisions back from the authors within eight weeks. Short papers. Short revisions.

Submissions must be <=6,000 words and have a maximum of five exhibits (figures or tables). The word count is based on the main text, including footnotes but excluding references, title, author names, abstract, the acknowledgement footnote, exhibit notes, keywords, and JEL codes. For reference, in Microsoft Word, 6,000 words is about 15 double-spaced pages of text using 11 point Times New Roman font and 1 inch margins and with additional pages for exhibits and references. As another point of reference, 6,000 words of text is about one-third the length of a typical AER article in recent years. The abstract should be <= 100 words.

Length limits on submissions and revisions will be strictly enforced. Online appendix materials are allowed (of unlimited length); but if referees or the Editor do not feel able to evaluate the essential elements of the paper from the main text alone, that will be grounds for rejection.

The aim of AER: Insights is to provide a high quality outlet for important yet concise contributions to economics, both empirical and theoretical.