Journal of Economic Perspectives: Proposals
Considerations for those proposing topics and papers for JEP
Articles appearing in the journal are primarily solicited by the editorial team. However, we do look at all unsolicited material. In general, with few exceptions, authors of published JEP papers are researchers with a PhD in economics or a closely related field. Due to the volume of submissions received, proposals that do not meet JEP's editorial criteria will receive only a brief reply. Proposals that appear to have JEP potential receive more detailed feedback. Historically, about 10-15 percent of the articles appearing in our pages originate as unsolicited proposals. We always prefer to receive a 2-5 page article proposal rather than a completed manuscript so that we can determine the suitability of an idea before the author makes a large time investment.
Philosophy and style
The Journal of Economic Perspectives attempts to fill part of the gap between refereed economics research journals and the popular press, while falling considerably closer to the former than the latter. The focus of JEP articles should be on understanding the central economic ideas of a question, what is fundamentally at issue, why the question is particularly important, what the latest advances are, and what facets remain to be examined. In every case, articles should argue for the author's point of view, explain how recent theoretical or empirical work has affected that view, and lay out the points of departure from other views.
We hope that most JEP articles will offer a kind of intellectual arbitrage that will be useful for every economist. For many, the articles will present insights and issues from a specialty outside the readers' usual field of work. For specialists, the articles will lead to thoughts about the questions underlying their research, which directions have been most productive, and what the key questions are.
Articles in many other economics journals are addressed to the author's peers in a subspecialty; thus, they use tools and terminology of that specialty and presume that readers know the context and general direction of the inquiry. By contrast, this journal is aimed at all economists, including those not conversant with recent work in the subspecialty of the author. The goal is to have articles that can be read by 90 percent or more of the AEA membership, as opposed to articles that can only be mastered with abundant time and energy. Articles should be as complex as they need to be, but not more so. Moreover, the necessary complexity should be explained in terms appropriate to an audience presumed to have an understanding of economics generally, but not a specialized knowledge of the author's methods or previous work in this area.
The Journal of Economic Perspectives is intended to be scholarly without relying too heavily on mathematical notation or mathematical insights. In some cases, it will be appropriate for an author to offer a mathematical derivation of an economic relationship, but in most cases it will be more important that an author explain why a key formula makes sense and tie it to economic intuition, while leaving the actual derivation to another publication or to an appendix.
JEP does not publish book reviews or literature reviews. Highly mathematical papers, research-intensive papers on narrowly focused topics, and papers that address an economic subspecialty in a manner inaccessible to the general AEA membership are not appropriate for the Journal of Economic Perspectives. Our stock in trade is original, opinionated perspectives on economic topics that are grounded in frontier scholarship. If you are not familiar with this journal, it is freely available online here.
Guidelines for Preparing JEP Proposals
Almost all JEP articles begin life as a two- or three-page proposal crafted by the authors. If there is already an existing paper, that paper can be sent to us as a proposal for JEP. However, given the low chances that an unsolicited manuscript will be published in JEP, no one should write an unsolicited manuscript intended for the pages of JEP. Indeed, we prefer to receive article proposals rather than completed manuscripts.
The proposal provides the editors and authors an opportunity to preview the substance and flow of the article. For proposals that appear promising, the editors provide feedback on the substance, focus, and style of the proposed article. After the editors and author(s) have reached agreement on the shape of the article (which may take one or more iterations), the author(s) are given several months to submit a completed first draft by an agreed date. This draft will receive detailed comments from the editors as well as a full set of suggested edits from JEP's Managing Editor. Articles may undergo more than one round of comment and revision prior to publication.
Readers are also welcome to send emails suggesting topics for JEP articles and symposia and to propose authors for these topics. If the proposed topic is a good fit for JEP, the JEP editors will work to solicit paper(s) and author(s).
Correspondence regarding possible future articles for JEP may be sent (electronically please) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Papers and paper proposals should be sent as Word or PDF email attachments.