AER: Insights Editorial Policy

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

Manuscripts submitted to AER: Insights are handled by an Editor, one of four Coeditors, and a staff located in Pittsburgh, using an Internet-based manuscript management software system. Papers are submitted online, processed by the Pittsburgh office staff, and then distributed by the Editor to one of the Coeditors or to themselves to oversee the refereeing 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, without review by the Editor.

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 or former advisees in nontenured positions who are within seven years of receiving their terminal degrees.
(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.

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. In rare cases where the qualified Coeditor(s) are all conflicted from handling a paper, the Editor will appoint a Guest Editor, drawn if possible from the Editorial Board members or former editors of other AEA journals, to handle the paper. The Editor (or, if conflicted, a Coeditor) will review the Guest Editor's decision before it is finalized. The Guest Editor's name will appear as the official editor in the acknowledgement section of any published paper.

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.

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. 

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 >>


Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of American Economic Association publications for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not distributed for profit or direct commercial advantage and that copies show this notice on the first page or initial screen of a display along with the full citation, including the name of the author. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than AEA must be honored. Abstracting with credit is permitted.

The author has the right to republish, post on servers, redistribute to lists and use any component of this work in other works. For others to do so requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Permissions may be requested from the American Economic Association Business Office.