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Revealed Preferences for Journals: Evidence from Page Limits

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  • David Card
  • Stefano DellaVigna

Abstract

Academic journals set a variety of policies that affect the supply of new manuscripts. We study the impact of page limit policies adopted by the American Economic Review (AER) in 2008 and the Journal of the European Economic Association (JEEA) in 2009 in response to a substantial increase in the length of articles in economics. We focus the analysis on the decision by potential authors to either shorten a longer manuscript in response to the page limit, or submit to another journal. For the AER we find little indication of a loss of longer papers – instead, authors responded by shortening the text and reformatting their papers. For JEEA, in contrast, we estimate that the page length policy led to nearly complete loss of longer manuscripts. These findings provide a revealed-preference measure of competition between journals and indicate that a top-5 journal has substantial monopoly power over submissions, unlike a journal one notch below. At both journals we find that longer papers were more likely to receive a revise and resubmit verdict prior to page limits, suggesting that the loss of longer papers may have had a detrimental effect on quality at JEEA. Despite a modest impact of the AER's policy on the average length of submissions (-5%), the policy had little or no effect on the length of final accepted manuscripts. Our results highlight the importance of evaluating editorial policies.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18663.

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Date of creation: Dec 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18663

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  1. Fabian Waldinger, 2012. "Peer Effects in Science: Evidence from the Dismissal of Scientists in Nazi Germany," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 838-861.
  2. Glenn Ellison, 2007. "Is Peer Review in Decline?," NBER Working Papers 13272, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gril98-1, June.
  4. David N. Laband & Robert D. Tollison, 2000. "Intellectual Collaboration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 632-661, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Raj Chetty & Emmanuel Saez & László Sándor, 2014. "What Policies Increase Prosocial Behavior? An Experiment with Referees at the Journal of Public Economics," NBER Working Papers 20290, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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