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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.

Suggested Citation

  • David Card & Stefano DellaVigna, 2012. "Revealed Preferences for Journals: Evidence from Page Limits," NBER Working Papers 18663, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18663
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David N. Laband & Robert D. Tollison, 2000. "Intellectual Collaboration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 632-661, June.
    2. Angus Deaton, 2009. "Instruments of development: Randomization in the tropics, and the search for the elusive keys to economic development," Working Papers 1128, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
    3. Glenn Ellison, 2011. "Is Peer Review In Decline?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(3), pages 635-657, July.
    4. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gril98-1.
    5. 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.
    6. Raj Chetty & Emmanuel Saez & Laszlo Sandor, 2014. "What Policies Increase Prosocial Behavior? An Experiment with Referees at the Journal of Public Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 169-188, Summer.
    7. repec:pri:cheawb:deaton%20instruments%20of%20development%20keynes%20lecture%202009.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:pri:rpdevs:instruments_of_development.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Raj Chetty & Emmanuel Saez & Laszlo Sandor, 2014. "What Policies Increase Prosocial Behavior? An Experiment with Referees at the Journal of Public Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 169-188, Summer.

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    JEL classification:

    • A1 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics

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