THE JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC EDUCATION

2004 ANNUAL REPORT


Historical and Current Activities
Research
Instruction
Content
Features and Information
Online
Editorial Matters
Circulation
Closing Comments
Figure 1: Monthly Accesses to JEE Web Site
Table 1: Distribution of Articles by Section
Table 2: Authors and Affiliations
Table 3: Disposition of Articles
Table 4: Referees and Affiliations
Table 5: Processing Time
Current Statistics Table
Circulation History Table
Subscriber Profile
Geographical Breakdown Table

The Journal of Economic Education is celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2004. This annual report is devoted to its history along with current activity highlights. Exhibits are provided to enable comparisons of current activities with those of the past. Hit information on the JEE World Wide Web site is provided in Figure 1. The allocation of material to the five sections of the JEE in each of the 2004 quarterly issues are summarized in Table 1. The mix of authors and their institutional affiliations are presented in Table 2. The number of manuscripts processed and the rates of manuscript acceptance are in Table 3. The referees used over the past year are listed in Table 4. The time required to process published manuscripts is given in Table 5. Finally, four pages with information on pricing, circulation, and subscriptions are provided by the JEE publisher, Heldref Publications, a division of the nonprofit Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation.

Historical and Current Activities

The first issue of the Journal of Economic Education was published in the fall of 1969, when Henry Villard served as editor. As described by then chair of the American Economic Association Committee on Economic Education, G. L. Bach in the American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings (1971), the JEE was to be the forum for scholarly work in economic education, primarily at the undergraduate level in colleges and universities, but including junior colleges and, to some extent, the high schools. By all indications the JEE has fulfilled this objective.

 The JEE began as a cooperative effort between the National Council on Economic Education (then called the Joint Council on Economic Education) and the American Economic Association’s Committee on Economic Education with the editor becoming an ex-officio member of the committee in 1990. Initially it was a biannual publication, the NCEE oversaw publication, and the AEA committee served as the editorial board.

The NCEE assigned the JEE copyright and publishing responsibility to Heldref Publications in 1981. In cooperation with the AEA Committee on Economic Education, however, the NCEE retained responsibility for appointing and maintaining the editor. As outlined in this report, the editor and associate editors are responsible for the academic functions of article review and selection. The Heldref staff are responsible for style and final copy editing, production and promotion. Financial support continues to be provided by the NCEE, Heldref, and the six institutions of higher education that house the editor and associate editors at Indiana University, Oberlin College, Purdue University, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Nebraska at both Lincoln and Omaha. The JEE is truly a team effort.

 In 1983, the JEE became a quarterly, when Villard’s successor Donald Paden (University of Illinois) was editor, and expanded in size under the editorship of Kalman Goldberg (Bradley University). The editorial offices moved to Indiana University in 1989, when William Becker became editor. The editors have strived to advance the teaching and learning of economics both through the publication of unsolicited and double-blind refereed manuscripts and special conference proceedings issues. For example, building on the success of a conference at Melbourne University in 1999, with articles published in the summer 2000 issue, this year a conference was held July 13 – 14, at the University of South Australia, on “What We Teach and How We Teach It: Perspectives on Economics From Around The World,” with keynote presentations by: Ted Bergstrom, University of California Santa Barbara; Edward Chen, Lingnan University Hong Kong; David Colander, Middlebury College Vermont; Avinash Dixit, Princeton University; William Greene, New York University; John Hey, University of York (UK) and Bari (Italy); and Kim Sosin, University of Nebraska Omaha.

Their papers are currently under review for possible publication in a 2005 issue. Together with JEE editor Bill Becker, this conference was organized by David Round (University of South Australia), Martin Shanahan (University of South Australia), and John Siegfried (Vanderbilt University). JEE associate editors William Walstad and Michael Watts are providing a summary of this conference for publication with the conference papers. In addition to sponsoring this conference, since 1995 the University of South Australia has provided assistance to the JEE during Becker’s yearly visits as an adjunct professor in the School of International Business. Clearly, the UniSA must be thanked for its commitment to economic education on the international stage.

The JEE is an innovator in many ways. For example, in 1995, the JEE was the first of the major journals in economics and education to offer a fully functioning Web site: www.indiana.edu/~econed. Since its inception, JEE Web users have had access to the tables of contents, abstracts, and author information on past and future issues. In addition to abstracts for articles published since 1984, they find the abstracts of manuscripts recently accepted for publication. The JEE Web site also contains the last 16 years of annual reports, information on subscribing, and submission details that include the style guide. Web users can search this information via keyword entries in basic and advanced search engines or by scrolling. Starting in 1998, the JEE experimented by making all articles published in quarterly issues of the JEE available at the JEE Web site as PDF files that can be read through the Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Although the exact meaning or intent of a hit is unknown, scholars from around the world are making use of the JEE URL. The number of users hitting or accessing the contents on the JEE Web site (Figure 1) has increased exponentially, from 553 per month in April 1995 to a high of 99,168 per month in March 2004—a substantial rise, even taking into account the growth of the Internet.

Certainly, the worldwide visibility and prestige of the JEE has increased greatly as seen in 2003 with the selection of the JEE for inclusion in JSTOR (Journal Storage). The JSTOR, working with societies and academic advisors, identifies and invites key scholarly journals within a given discipline to participate in its archiving system. In 2004 the JEE joined an elite group of some 400 journals (from 30 different disciplines with myriad subfields) in an archive that is used by researchers at over 1,700 institutions in 76 countries. JSTOR takes great care in its selective approach to building collections of the highest quality journal literature. Journals are invited to participate because of their historical importance to scholarship and the potential benefits associated with searching them alongside other core journals. Critical factors in a JSTOR decision for inclusion are 1) the number of institutional subscribers, 2) citation analysis, 3) recommendations from experts in the field, and 4) the journal’s longevity. To appreciate the honor of being in JSTOR, one need only think of the nearly 7,000 academic journals that are currently available in hard and electronic copy in the U.S., of which JSTOR archives only a few hundred.

Back issues of the JEE from its inception are now available through the JSTOR Web site: www.jstor.org. There is a “moving window” representing the time period between the last issue available in JSTOR and the most recently published issue of a journal. For the JEE, this moving window is five years. Each page of the JEE in the JSTOR archive is a faithful representation of the original print journal obtained from the full collection of back issues maintained by the editorial office at Indiana University. We must thank JEE Associate Editor William Walstad, JEE board member John Siegfried, and longtime JEE contributor Phillip Saunders for providing missing issues for the JSTOR collection.

Partially in recognition of back issues being available through JSTOR, and Heldref’s reporting of falling journal circulation (as discussed later in this report), the pluses and minus of having PDF articles available freely at the JEE Web site must be reconsidered. At their January 2004 meeting, the editor and associate editors voted to delay the placement of articles on the JEE Web site by one year.  

In addition to being a JSTOR journal and having material availability on the JEE Web page, Heldref Publications makes the JEE available through the following services:

1. EBSCO, in the form of CD-ROM, and online

2. Bell and Howell, International, in the form of microfiche and online

3. Gale Group, Northern Lights, in the form of CD-ROM, and online

4. Institute for Scientific Information, in the form of photocopy, facsimile, and electronic

5. Bigchalk.com, in the online form of the Electronic Library and Homework Helper.

Finally, in considering the JEE history, it is worth pointing out that the JEE is the only publication dedicated to the teaching and learning of economics that is indexed, abstracted, scanned, or otherwise listed in the Journal of Economic Literature, Social Science Citation Index, Current Contents, Education Index, Business Education Index, Contents Pages in Education, International Bibliography of Book Reviews, International Bibliography of Periodical Literature, PAIS Bulletin, Social Studies/Social Science Education (ERIC), and Research Alert. There is little question from the extensive indexing that in the past 35 years the JEE has become both the source of information on the teaching of economics and a central journal within economics and education alike. The scholarship of teaching and learning in economics is advanced internationally by the JEE, through the five sections in which articles appear.

In the research section, the JEE strives to publish original theoretical and empirical studies that provide analysis and evaluation of instructional methods and materials. Articles involving statistical inference are published in the research section if they deal with the educational process. In the instruction section, the JEE publishes articles, notes, and communications describing innovations in pedagogy, hardware, materials, and methods for teaching traditional subject matter. The content section of the JEE contains articles that address contemporary issues, new ideas, and research findings in economics that may influence or can be incorporated into the teaching of economics. In the features and information section are articles that provide survey results, international and institutional comparisons, and descriptive studies on the economics curriculum, instructional materials, and educational practices. Finally, the online section is designed to identify exemplary uses of technology for economic instruction. Materials submitted to the JEE for review in this section are expected to be interactive and housed at a publicly available Web site controlled by the author.

Research

Peter Kennedy, professor of economics at Simon Fraser University, has been the associate editor of the research section since 1989. We are indebted to Simon Fraser University for the support it has provided Peter in his activities on behalf of the JEE. Because Peter spends a significant amount of time each year in New Zealand and traveling the world, all of his worldwide partners are appreciated.

As shown in Table 3, in 2004, 20 papers were submitted, which is in line with the average yearly submission count for the past three years. Of the papers submitted in 2004, 1 has been recommended for publication. Peter recommended 6 additional articles for publication that had been submitted in previous years. The three-year acceptance rate for the research section is 32.56 percent.

The proportion of pages going to the research section was 30.7 percent in 2004 (Table 1), which is well above the 6.9 percent in 2003, and above the 21.3 percent and 26.2 percent of pages going to the research section in 2001 and 2002.

Instruction

Michael Watts, professor of economics at Purdue University, has been an associate editor of the instruction section since 1988. We express our gratitude to Mike and thanks to the Krannert School of Management for the support Purdue University has provided the JEE.

In addition to being the director of the Center on Economic Education at Purdue University, an affiliate of the National Council on Economic Education, this year Mike once again spent time in the former Soviet Union as well as teaching in Germany; we express our thanks for the support provided to him and the JEE by his hosts.

In 2004, Mike recommended a total of 15 articles for publication (Table 3). Of the 49 articles submitted this year, which is above past years, 5 have been accepted for publication and 18 have been rejected, leaving 26 still under consideration. The three-year acceptance rate for the instruction section is 30.11 percent. This acceptance rate includes topical issues for which authors are invited to submit articles but which also must go through the referee process. This coming year one such set of articles that address assessment and testing are based on previous presentations at the Midwest Economic Association meetings. In 2004, 29.3 percent of the JEE pages went to the instruction section (Table 1), while it was 38.8 percent in 2003, 22.5 percent in 2002, and 24.2 percent in 2001.

Content

Hirschel Kasper, professor of economics at Oberlin College, is associate editor of the content section. Professor Kasper is well-traveled in the academic world, having held visiting appointments at the universities of Wisconsin, Michigan, Cornell, Glasgow (Scotland), and Princeton. He has been an associate editor of the JEE since 1986. We express our thanks to Hirschel and to Oberlin College for the support he has been provided over the years that he has been an associate editor.

This year, 46 manuscripts were submitted to the content section, which is consistent with the past three-year average (Table 3). None of the articles submitted this year have been accepted, 20 have been rejected, and 26 are still in review. Over the past three years, the acceptance rate in the content section has been 11.96 percent. As with the other sections, the number of pages published in the content section varies from year to year: 18.3 percent in 2004, 26.3 percent in 2003, 29.9 percent in 2002, and 10.2 percent in 2001.

Features and Information

William Walstad, professor of economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has been the associate editor of the features and information section since 1994. Bill Walstad is also chair of the American Economic Association’s Committee on Economic Education, and director of the University of Nebraska National Center for Research in Economic Education, an affiliate of the National Council on Economic Education. Both Bill and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln must be thanked for their commitment to advancing economic education.

This year there were 30 unsolicited manuscripts submitted for review in the features and information section, of which 8 are scheduled for publication, 11 are still in review, and 11 have been rejected. The long-term acceptance rate of this section is 31.67 percent. The features and information section made up 13.6 percent of the page count in 2004. Its page count was 19.7 percent in 2003, 13.1 percent in 2002 and 35.5 percent in 2001.

As chair of the AEA Committee on Economic Education, this year Bill Walstad arranged for AEA-CEE member Daniel Hamermesh (University of Texas, Austin) to organize a session at the January 2004 AEA annual meeting on economic education and journalism, with papers by Dan, R. Glenn Hubbard (Columbia University), Klaus Zimmermann (German Institute for Economic Research, and Research Institute for the Future of Labor), and Hal Varian (University of California at Berkeley), and comments provided by Michael Mandel (Business Week) and Paul Solman (PBS NewsHour and WGBH—Boston). These papers and comments appeared in the fall 2004 issue. For the January 2005 AEA meeting, Bill Walstad again has a special session devoted to the teaching of economics at the high school level that will likely result in JEE articles at a future date.

Online

Kim Sosin, professor and chair of the Department of Economics, University of Nebraska at Omaha, has been associate editor of the online section since its founding in 2000. Kim is also director of the UN-Omaha Center for Economic Education, an affiliate of the National Council on Economic Education. The fact that the JEE has two editors (Bill Walstad and Kim Sosin) from Nebraska speaks to the commitment of Nebraska to economic education, and the JEE is indebted to the Nebraska team of economic educators.

Materials reviewed in the online section are accepted for their exemplary uses of technology in economic instruction. These materials are available for Web viewing as finished documents on the submitter’s Web site. Short descriptions and Web URLs of accepted Web materials appear in the regular issues of the JEE. Because each online note requires only one page, less than 1.3 percent of the JEE pages in 2004 were allocated to the published online notes, which is roughly the same as the allocation in 2003, 2002, and 2001.

In 2004, Kim recommended the acceptance of 6 pieces, including 4 that were submitted this year. Of the 13 pieces submitted this year, 5 were rejected, and 4 are still under consideration. The long-term acceptance rate in the online section is 32.43 percent.

Editorial Matters

The editorial practices of the JEE are intended to do more than screen articles for publication; they are intended to assist potential authors as well. The associate editors and referees devote a significant amount of time to assisting authors with comments and suggestions for the revision of papers that they believe have promise for JEE readers. Less-dedicated editors and reviewers would have rejected out-of-hand some papers that have been transmuted by their advice.

The names and institutional affiliations of the 304 referees used between October 11, 2003, and October 10, 2004, are listed in Table 4. The economic education community must express its deep appreciation for their assistance to the JEE. The JEE continues to express its gratitude with a complimentary copy of the Winter issue in which all referee names and affiliations appear.

The review and revision process leading to acceptance can take a year or more. The information in Table 5 suggests that even after authors have gone through this process, they must often wait another year to see their manuscripts in print because of the length of the queue of accepted articles. Although this time to publication is not unusual relative to other top-quality journals, it is a source of both pride and concern. To address this problem, we have increased the size of the JEE from 96 pages to 108 at least for every other issue.

The data management system and other office administrative routines are critical in manuscript tracking and the smooth operation of the JEE. From the time the JEE moved to Indiana University in 1989, these functions have been underwritten by Indiana University College of Arts and Science, for which the JEE is most thankful. This year Julia Martinez came on board as the executive secretary of the JEE editorial office. Julia has proven herself to be a most able office administrator and a welcome addition to the JEE team. Julie Marker continues to serve as the JEE Web manager, with consultation and programming assistance from Chris Calabrese, to whom we express our gratitude.

The authors of each of the 42 articles, notes, and reviews published in 2004 have benefited from assistant editor Suzanne Becker’s eye for detail and editorial forte. Sue has a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota, and she has been editing manuscripts in economics and education for over 30 years and for the JEE since 1989. At Heldref Publications, Rosalind Springsteen is the JEE managing editor. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Michigan in economics and was previously employed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Rosalind Springsteen, together with the Heldref staff, ensures that the final JEE product is of the highest quality and in readers’ hands in the season designated on the issue’s cover.

Circulation

The last four unnumbered pages at the back of this report contain data on pricing, subscriptions, and the circulation of the JEE provided by Heldref Publications. Heldref has been responsible for these items since 1981. The regular individual subscription rate for the four quarterly issues of the JEE is $60 per year and the rate for institutions is $124, which are low compared to many other academic journals. As of the end of October, paid subscriptions were 905 with 947 copies of the fall 2004 issue circulated. (The peak circulation in 1995 reflected a promotional effort aimed at participants in the AEA/NCEE teacher training program.) Over the past several years, other periodicals devoted to economic education and the economics of education have entered the market. In addition, expanding free use of the JEE World Wide Web services as well as those coming on line through other Web servers may be cutting into subscriptions.

In recognition of falling circulation, at the January 2004 editorial meeting it was decided to delay the placement of articles on the JEE Web site by one year. In meetings with Heldref personnel, JEE board member and NCEE president Robert Duvall has emphasized the importance of increasing JEE circulation. Similarly, JEE editor Bill Becker has met with Heldref staff to learn of and advance Heldref’s plans to increase JEE subscriptions and circulation. Heldref staff point out that the subscription rates of most journals and of Heldref journals have fallen. In particular, according to Heldref staff, the rate of decline for the JEE is lower than that of 90 percent of Heldref’s 42 academic journals. This is of little consolation to those who expect JEE circulation to be growing and not declining with industry trends.

Heldref marketing director Emilia Pawlowski plans a mailing in early 2005 to 10,000 teachers of economics, soliciting subscriptions in a letter authored by long-time JEE editorial board member, William Baumol. Emilia and Heldref marketing coordinator Laura Roose are also working on other possible actions aimed at increasing subscriptions. Within the next year, we expect that their efforts will show an increase in subscriptions and circulation.

Heldref’s subscription data do not yet reflect the 2004 changes in Council and Center Directors’ subscriptions. These subscriptions are obtained as part of the registration process at the annual meeting of the National Council on Economic Education, which was held in Little Rock, Arkansas, on September 29-October 2, 2004. This year 64 individual subscriptions were obtained from the NCEE network directors who subscribed at the special rate of $35.00 per year. Beside the special rate for NCEE associates, Heldref also provided a special subscription rate for those attending the Department Chairs’ Breakfast at the American Economic Association annual meeting in San Diego (January 4, 2004), where JEE associate editor and chair of the AEA Committee on Economic Education, Bill Walstad, featured the JEE in his report. Bill will again feature the JEE in his report at the January 2005 AEA meeting in Philadelphia.

Closing Comments

In closing it is worth calling attention to the importance of the JEE to academic economists as reaffirmed by the NCEE’s strategic review of all its programs a few years ago. That zero-based budgeting assessment effort enabled the NCEE board “to recognize even more fully the significant part that the JEE plays in fostering and fortifying the academic backbone of our organization” (September 28, 2000). According to Robert Duvall, NCEE president and chief executive officer, the NCEE is committed to ongoing support of the JEE, with a rolling three-year cycle of funding from 2001 forward. We are indebted to JEE editorial board member Bob Duvall and the NCEE for this vote of confidence and long-term commitment to the mission of the JEE. With such support, the JEE will prosper well into the future.

William E. Becker

December 6, 2004


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