AEJ: Applied Economics: Editorial Policy
Learn about AEJ: Applied Editorial Policy, including Peer Review, Confidentiality, Editorial Handling, Disclosure, Data Availability, and Copyright
Manuscripts submitted to the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics are handled by an Editor, 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 himself/herself 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. 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 his/her choosing.
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 non-tenured positions 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.
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.
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 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.
Policy on Papers Previously Submitted to the American Economic Review and AER: Insights
The American Economic Journals will consider papers previously reviewed by the American Economic Review and AER: Insights. Authors of manuscripts previously reviewed by these journals may request that, subject to the referees' agreement, the full correspondence files of the referees (including cover letters as well as referees' reports) be shared with the editors of the AEJ to which the author is applying (AEJ: Applied Economics, AEJ: Economic Policy, AEJ: Macroeconomics, or AEJ: Microeconomics), who will have the discretion to make a decision based on these reports or to request additional reports.
If you wish to take advantage of this option answer YES to the question on the online submission form asking "Has your paper previously been submitted to the AER or AER: Insights, and if yes, would you like to request the materials from your review be forwarded to the AEJ editors?" If you DO NOT wish the AEJ editors to see the file of a paper previously submitted to the AER or AER: Insights, answer NO to the question. When such a request has been made, the AEJ staff will contact each referee to obtain his or her permission, and if it is granted, will forward all referee correspondence to the AEJ editor.
In most cases, it is neither necessary nor recommended to change the manuscript before submitting to an AEJ. The process at the AEJ journal depends on whether the manuscript submitted is identical to the AER / AER: Insights manuscript, or has changed, as follows:
- If the manuscript submitted to the AEJ journal is identical to the AER / AER: Insights manuscript, please submit a brief response letter to the editor (i.e., typically no more than 5 pages of text plus no more than 5 tables or figures) describing the main changes you would make to the paper in response to the main comments raised by the AER/AER: Insights referees if you were given the opportunity to revise the paper for the AEJ. A detailed response letter to each referee is not required.
- If the manuscript submitted to the AEJ has changed from the AER / AER: Insights manuscript, please submit a response letter to the editor describing the changes you have made since the AER / AER: Insights version. If the changes you made were in response to the AER / AER: Insights referees, please also include response letters to them. Although all decisions are left to the discretion of the handling coeditor, since these papers are different from the paper reviewed by the AER /AER: Insights referees, we expect that papers in this category are more likely to require additional refereeing before a possible decision to proceed at the AEJ journal.
Please check the appropriate check-box as to whether the manuscript submitted is identical to the original AER / AER: Insights manuscript. In either case, please upload the original AER / AER: Insights manuscript and choose the file designation 'Misc. (for review).’
This FAQ page provides more information on the transfer option from AER / AER: Insights to AEJ.