AER: Insights Style Guide for Accepted Articles

Formatting and Style Guidelines for Accepted Manuscripts

Instructions for Preparation of Accepted Manuscripts



A. Final Manuscript PDF

B. Final Word Count PDF

C. Final Paper Native File

D. Web Materials

E. Copyright Transfer Agreement Form(s)


A. Final Manuscript PDF:

The PDF should include everything for the print publication, including your reference list, and tables and figures in their approximate location. Alternatively, you may indicate the approximate location of tables and figures within the text and place tables and figures at the end of the PDF. DO NOT include anything in this PDF that is for the web only. See below for instructions on how to prepare materials for the web.

Your final manuscript should adhere to the FORMATTING AND STYLE GUIDELINES (see Section IV).

Please also ensure that the file is not encrypted.

B. Final Word Count PDF:

Accepted manuscripts should NOT exceed 6,000 words. A final word count should be obtained by uploading a modified PDF of your accepted manuscript to This PDF should INCLUDE only the main body of the text and footnotes and endnotes. This PDF should EXCLUDE the title, author names, abstract, acknowledgement footnote, reference list, and exhibits. When sending files, you must state the final word count number calculated by in the body of the email and include the final Word Count PDF.

C. Final Paper Native File:

The native file of your final paper can be in the following formats: Scientific Word, LaTeX, Word (.doc, .docx).  For LaTeX and Scientific Word, please be sure to include the .aux file and .bbl if available. 

D. Web Materials:

  Disclosure Statements: Individual Disclosure Statements in PDF format should be submitted for each author: Each statement should include the paper title and the author's name at the top. Statements should: (i) correspond with the funding sources acknowledged in the introductory footnote; (ii) acknowledge IRB approval (if applicable); and (iii) report any other potential conflict of interest. If you have nothing to disclose you are still required to supply a PDF statement formally making that claim. See the full AEA Disclosure Statement Policy for details;

  Data Zip File and Readme File: A zip file containing your dataset and a readme file: See Data Availability Policy for more information;

  Additional Materials: Any additional materials to be posted online such as appendices and teaching materials (please label clearly as such).

E. Copyright Transfer Agreement Form(s):

EACH author/coauthor should submit a separate, signed Copyright Transfer Agreement Form at the time you submit your final files (manuscript, dataset, and disclosure). Please be sure that each form contains the manuscript title and the author’s signature. Also, each author must specify whether implicit or explicit consent is preferred in regard to our permission to reprint policy. A paper for which there are no signed copyright transfer agreement form(s) cannot be published. Please call the editorial office (412) 432-2300 if you foresee any problems involving this requirement. See Sending Files (Section III) for where to send all materials.

Authors are permitted to post published versions of their articles on their personal websites.


E-mail the required files to

Include the journal name and manuscript number in the subject line of the e-mail. Please include the word count number in the body of the email.

Reminder: Be sure that you have included the Final PDF, Word Count PDF, Native File, and Web Materials.


A. Title page:

DO NOT use a separate sheet for the title page. Title and byline should be placed at the top of the first page. Contact information should appear in a note at the bottom of the first page, indicated by an asterisk (*) placed after the (last) author's name. In this note, please:

• Provide the full mailing address and e-mail address for each author;

• Indicate the institutions and/or grant numbers of any financial support you have received for your research; and

• Personally acknowledge individuals who have contributed criticism on earlier drafts of your paper.

B. Abstracts:

Abstracts are required for all articles and should not exceed 100 words.

C. Section heads:

Do not begin with “Introduction” as a section head. Section headings should be given Roman numerals (I., II., etc.); subsections should be lettered A., B., etc.

D. Footnotes:

Footnotes should be embedded and numbered consecutively.

E. In-text citations:

For citations in the text, use author last name(s) only followed by year of publication in parentheses. When listing a string of references within the text, arrange first in chronological order, then alphabetically within years. If there are four or more authors, refer to the first author, followed by et al. and the year. If there is more than one publication referred to in the same year by the author(s), use the year and a, b, etc. (example: 1997a, b). Referenced year and spelling of last name in the text must match those in the reference section exactly.

Organizations or governmental agencies in the text:

On first references, use the full name followed by the abbreviation in parentheses. Subsequent references should use abbreviation only; for example: Social Science Research Council (SSRC) [first reference], SSRC [subsequently].

F. Mathematical equations:

• Equations should be typed on separate lines and numbered consecutively at the left margin, using Arabic numbers in parentheses;

• Please use italics for scalar variables, use boldface to specify vectors and matrices, and use script for sets.

  Subscripts and superscripts must be easily distinguished from regular variables and from each other. Use only two levels of sub- and superscripts.

  Fractions: When equations in the text contain fractions, use a slash "/" or solidus and clearly denote numerator and denominator with parentheses. Display fractions that are too complicated to keep in the text on a separate line.

G. Quotations:

Quotations must correspond exactly with the original in wording, spelling, and punctuation.

Page numbers must be given. Changes must be indicated: use brackets to identify insertions; use ellipsis dots (...) to show omissions. Also indicate where emphasis has been added. Only lengthy quotations (more than 50 words) should be separated from the text; such quotations must be indented at the left margin.

H. Tables:

There should be no more than a total of 5 tables and figures.  Tables should …

• Be no more than 9 columns wide in a vertical or "portrait" orientation (this includes row headings);

• Be numbered consecutively with Arabic numbers;

• Not use vertical lines to show space distinction (use only horizontal lines and additional blank space if necessary);

• Not have any shading;

• Use Panel A and Panel B to denote sections of a table. Do not abbreviate in column headings;

• Spell out "percent"; do not use the percent sign. Place a zero in front of the decimal point in all decimal fractions (i.e., 0.357, not .357).

• For footnotes pertaining to specific table entries, footnote keys should be lowercase letters (a, b, c, etc.); these footnotes should follow the more general table Note(s) or Source(s).  Please do not use stars to denote significance of estimation results. Just report the standard errors in parenthesis.

• Source lines should follow the footnotes. If the citation is a complete sentence, place a period at the end of the source line (see examples of format below).

Example 1

Source: Authors’ calculations

Example 2

Source: All data was obtained from Authors’ calculations.

• Full citations of the sources are to be included in the references.

I. Figures:

There should be no more than a total of 5 tables and figures. Individual tables and figures are limited to one page each. Figures MUST be submitted in PDF, EPS, AI, WMF, or PPT. Format photographs and raster images at 300 dpi. If there are variables (italics) or matrices and vectors (boldface) in figures, they should be designated as such. You are encouraged to create figures in color. Figures you create in color will appear in black and white in the print journal. You should ensure that your colored elements are sufficiently differentiated when rendered as gray so that readers of the paper version can understand them.

NOTE: The journal cannot reprint imagery owned by a third party without the formal written consent of the copyright holder. This can include, but is not limited to, reproductions of advertisements, maps, diagrams, corporate logos, and screen shots of web pages.

J. Reference list:

Use full names of authors and/or editors. List all authors/editors up to/including ten names. Authors of articles and books and materials without specific authors or editors, such as government documents or bulletins, are to be listed alphabetically. Please follow the Chicago Manual of Style's "Author-Date" style. 

• We encourage you to use bibliographic software when preparing your reference list. If you are using software please select "Chicago Author-Date" when using bibliographic software.

• Not all document types are covered in reference list software. We include helpful guidelines for several document types at our Sample References page.

  Data References: References to datasets should be included in your reference list. You can find examples of how to cite datasets here: View Sample References.

K. Appendices:

Authors are encouraged to use an Appendix for technical proofs and derivations that can be separated from the main text. Designate multiple Appendices A, B, C, as necessary. Number equations, theorems, propositions, etc., within the Appendix as (A1), etc.

Appendices will appear ONLY on our website and should be sent as a separate PDF file. Appendices will be posted without being typeset or copyedited by the journal. Please be sure to center the following information at the top of the first page of your online appendix as its heading: paper title, all names of the authors, and the words "Online Appendix."

L. Other style points:

• Do not use the % sign; always spell out the word "percent."

• Apostrophes are used for possessives (e.g., Robert’s journal), generally not for pluralization (i.e., HMOs).

• Hyphenate compound adjectives when they come before a noun, not after (e.g., a well-known author; an author well known). Generally, the following prefixes are not hyphenated: non, pre, post, over, under, intra, pro, re, semi. However, quasi and self are hyphenated whether they precede or follow the noun.

M. Copyright:

EACH author/coauthor will be sent a copyright transfer agreement along with the proof. A paper for which there is no signed copyright transfer agreement cannot be published. Please call the editorial office (412) 432-2300 if you foresee any problems involving this requirement.

Authors are permitted to post published versions of their articles on their personal websites.

N. National Institute of Health Public Access Policy:

Authors funded by the NIH are required to submit an electronic version of their final, accepted manuscript to the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central. This should be submitted no more than 12 months after the official date of publication.