THE JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC EDUCATION

2007 ANNUAL REPORT

 

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and Discipline-based Inquiry
Research
Instruction
Content
Features and Information
Online

Editorial Board
Editorial Matters
Circulation
Concluding Comments
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
Metapress Online Sales
Geographical Breakdown Table

 

The Journal of Economic Education’s activities in 2007 are outlined in this annual report.  The report provides the data required for a comparison of present activities with those of the past.  It focuses attention on the difference between the current scholarship of teaching and learning movement and the traditional discipline-based approach to teaching and learning as advanced by the JEE since its founding in the late 1960s.  The research, content, instruction, features and information, and online sections of the JEE are highlighted for their contributions to the advancement and prestige of serious inquiries related to teaching and learning of economics.  Editorial personnel changes and other editorial matters are reported.  Finally, circulation and pricing data are provided and discussed.

        Tables are presented to enable comparisons of current activities with those of the past.  The allocation of material to the five sections of the JEE in each of the 2007 quarterly issues is 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.

 

SCHOLARSHIP OF TEACHING AND LEARNING AND DISCIPLINE-BASED INQUIRY

In my 1999 JEE annual report, I called attention to the Carnegie Foundation launch of a multi-year project called the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL), which was to promote the development of a scholarship of teaching and learning in academe to maximize the influence of work being done in varied educational settings (Pat Hutchings and Lee Shulman, “The Scholarship of Teaching,” Change, October 1999: 11-15).  Initially, my interpretation of the vision for CASTL (or the now more popular acronym, SOTL, for scholarship of teaching and learning) was to have discipline-based academics combine the latest ideas in their fields with current ideas about teaching and learning in a way that is made public, open to critique and evaluation, and in a form on which others can build. 

Hutchings and Shulman conjured a problem confronting the scholarship of teaching and learning in that discipline-based inquiry into teaching and learning would not have credibility within the discipline.  For example, in my 2004 edited book with Moya Andrews (The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: Contributions of Research Universities, Indiana University Press, 2004), Shulman, President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, wrote:

The next levels of work in the Carnegie Foundation’s CASTL Campus Program are explicitly dedicated to promoting such links (that maximize the impact of work being done in varied educational settings) and networking, to ensure that teaching and scholarly work on teaching are not purely local activities . . . . This is not to deny the importance and quality of the discipline-specific educational research journals that already exist and are already advancing the scholarly study of teaching and learning in their fields.  Nevertheless, it is hard to deny that too often mainstream scholars in their disciplines marginalize these journals, however well they perform their functions.  I envision a time when we witness the incorporation of scholarly contributions on the teaching and learning of the disciplines in general periodicals in those fields, as well as in the specialized education journals.  (p. 20)

Shulman did not provide documentation to support his allegation “that too often mainstream scholars in their disciplines marginalize these (discipline-based) journals” or the implication that scholarly contributions on the teaching and learning of the disciplines are not already appearing in the major field journals.  Apparently, Shulman was ignorant of or wished to ignore what has been going on in economics, where economists at major research universities have reached the rank of full professor for their work in economic education.  The Journal of Economic Literature (one of the two oldest and most prominent publications of the American Economic Association - the other being the American Economic Review) has featured articles on the teaching of economics that economists have used to advance their careers.   Those articles have been published primarily in the Journal of Economic Education.

For example, JEE editor William Becker’s JEL (September 1997) article on teaching economics at the college level features 82 references, of which 65 are to academic journals.  The JEE received the most citations (28) followed by the American Economic Review (10).  In William Walstad's JEL (December 1992) article on the teaching of economics in high schools, there are 141 references, of which 78 are to academic journals, with the JEE receiving the most citations (38) followed by the American Economic Review, with 16.  Similarly, the classic 1979 JEL article “Research on Teaching College Economics: A Survey,” by John Siegfried and Rendigs Fels, documents the path-breaking work in economic education going back to World War II.  (Although I make no claim to knowing about teaching and learning in the myriad of other disciplines, in my 2006 Midwest Economics Association presidential address, “Address the Controversies: There Are No Dogmata, Laws, Rules or Standards in the Science of Economics,” American Economist, Spring 2007, I highlight how mainstream physicists have been involved in the teaching of physics going back to Richard Feynman, co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965, and the more recent 2001 Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman.)

More telling still about mainstream economists being involved in the teaching of economics is a look at JEE authors and referees.  A quick review of the 239 referees this year (Table 4) shows scholars from Cornell University, Duke University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, Williams College and the like.

Well-known economists publishing JEE articles in just the past three years include, among others, B. Peter Pashigan (University of Chicago), John Siegfried (Vanderbilt University), David Colander (Middlebury College), Avinash Dixit (Princeton University), Ted Bergstrom (University of California Santa Barbara), William Greene (New York University), John Hey (University of York), Daniel Hamermesh (University of Texas, Austin), Hal Varian (University of California, Berkeley), R. Glen Hubbard (Columbia University), and Klaus Zimmermann (Bonn University).  We already have articles by Alan Krueger and Molly Fifer (Princeton University), Michael C. Lovell (Wesleyan University), and Morton Kamien (Northwestern University) scheduled for early 2008 issues.  The first three issues of the JEE in 1969 and 1970 had lead articles by now deceased but then highly regarded economists Kenneth Boulding (University of Colorado), Ben Lewis (Oberlin College) and 1982 Nobel Laureate in Economics George Stigler (University of Chicago). A quick review of the authors publishing in the Journal of Scholarship and Learning and like publications in SOTL does not show such an impressive author list of mainstream scholars at highly regarded institutions.

Specialized educational journals devoted to SOTL are missing the academic recognition that is associated with being included in JSTOR (Journal Storage), where the JEE is archived.  (From the thousands of journals in economics, education and some 50 other disciplines, JSTOR archiving is restricted to only those several hundred journals that are judged to have 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) recommend-ations from experts in the field, and 4) the journal's longevity.)  In addition to being a JSTOR journal and having material available on the JEE Indiana University web page, Heldref Publications makes the JEE available through its own web page and several different services in the following ways:

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.

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.

Contrary to my initial vision for SOTL, SOTL has become dominated by educationalists without a discipline base and administrators and managers who never had or have left their academic discipline homes.  For example, from this year’s International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning conference held in Sydney, Australia (July 2-5, 2007), JEE executive secretary Christy Campoll compiled a list showing the majority of the 435 presenters had titles suggesting that they were educationalists or administrators and managers and not mainstream scholars at prestigious universities and colleges.  Only 17.2 percent were non-administrators or non-managers with academic ranks at or above the assistant professor level within traditional arts, business, humanities, science and technology disciplines.  There were no representatives from the prestigious east or west coast U. S. universities and colleges but many from less well-known institutions.  The mainline discipline-based scholars have not gravitated to SOTL.

SOTL may have appeal to the growing number of lecturers, clinical faculty members, and those solely responsible for teaching in post-secondary positions because its “scholarship” label appears to bring respectability within the tradition of higher education.  Without the participation of mainline academics, however, large numbers of SOTL associates are likely to further diminish the status of teaching within higher education.  A type of Gresham’s law (inferior currency drives out superior currency) might suggest that less discipline-based faculty members will drive out the more disciplined-based; or, expectations of such will cause the latter to be rightfully on guard against the former.  This may already be happening as seen in some schools of business, where Association for the Advancement of Schools of Business announcements may have at first appeared to support SOTL-type initiatives but are now interpreted as saying that pedagogy cannot be as rigorous and scientific as other field work.  These business school deans and faculty committees have mistakenly come to view all teaching journals as not worthy of the “A list.” 

            Historically the teaching of economics has not been ignored by mainstream economists and we can only hope that such will be the same in the future.  The JEE has and likely will continue to advance the teaching of economics as a rigorous scientific endeavor through its five sections: research, content, instruction, features and information, and online. 

 

RESEARCH

Peter Kennedy, Professor of Economics, Simon Fraser University, is the associate editor of the research section.  We are indebted to Simon Fraser University for the support it has provided Peter in his activities on behalf of the JEE.  Peter brings exceptional visibility to both Simon Fraser University and the JEE through his world-wide travels, numerous journal publications and highly regarded A Guide to Econometrics, (MIT Press 5th edition), a version of which sits on many economists’ shelves.   

Original theoretical and empirical studies that deal with the analysis and evaluation of teaching and learning methods and materials are published in the research section.  The proportion of pages going to the research section was 16.6 percent in 2007 (Table 1), which is less than the 21.3 percent in 2006 and the 18.9 percent in 2005.  As shown in Table 3, in 2007, 23 papers were submitted, which is consistent with the average yearly submission count for the past three years.  Of the papers submitted in 2007, none have yet been recommended for publication.  Peter has recommended six articles for publication that have been submitted in the past three years.  The three-year acceptance rate for the research section is 10.53 percent. 

 

INSTRUCTION

July 1, 2007, marked the effective date for the planned retirement of Michael Watts of Purdue University as associate editor of the instruction section of the Journal of Economic Education.  Paul Grimes then became the editor of that section.  In 2008, readers will begin to see Paul’s work. 

Mike Watts had been the editor of the instruction section since 1988, when he took over this editorship from Dennis Weidenaar.  During his tenure with the JEE, the instruction section expanded greatly.  Mike was never satisfied requesting two referee reports, typically requesting three for each paper.  He also made it a point to solicit referee reports and new submissions from leaders in economics.  After twenty years, and with his new duties as chair of the AEA Committee on Economic Education, Mike said “enough.”  Many thanks to Mike for his years of outstanding service.

The JEE is fortunate that Paul Grimes agreed to serve as associate editor of the instruction section.  Paul is Professor and Head of the Department of Finance and Economics at Mississippi State University. He is also the Director of the MSU Center for Economic Education and Financial Literacy.  He has numerous academic publications to his credit, including the most recent co-authorship of The Economics of Social Issues (McGraw-Hill 2006).

The instruction section is devoted to articles that describe innovations in pedagogy, hardware, materials, and methods.  In 2007, Mike and Paul together recommended a total of six articles for publication (Table 3).  Of the 32 articles submitted this year, none have been accepted for publication and eight have been rejected, leaving 24 still under consideration.  The three-year acceptance rate for the instruction section is 11.83 percent.  In 2007, 27.6 percent of the JEE pages went to instruction (Table 1), whereas in 2006, it was 43.2 percent and in 2005, it was 52.7 percent. 

 

CONTENT

Unplanned, but necessitated by personal matters, was the resignation of Hirschel Kasper as associate editor of the content section in late October.  Hirsch has been the editor of this section since 1986, when the section was called “significant topics in the current economic literature.”  He has been responsible for making many improvements, and most important, for securing articles that have resulted in many citations to the JEE, which was a critical component in the JEE selection into JSTOR.   We express our fond farewell and thanks to Hirschel and thanks to Oberlin College, where Hirsch continues as a professor of economics, for the support it has provided the JEE over the 21 years that he has been an associate editor.

We are fortunate that JEE editorial board member David Colander (Christian A. Johnson Distinguished Professor of Economics at Middlebury College) has agreed to step in as editor of the content section.  In 2001-2002, David was the Kelly Professor of Distinguished Teaching at Princeton University.  He has authored, co-authored, or edited over 35 books and 100 articles on a wide range of topics.  David has already proposed changes that bring new ideas into the JEE editorial process. 

            Articles in the content section address contemporary issues, new ideas, and research findings in economics that may influence or can be incorporated into the teaching of economicscs.  This year, 32 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 thus far, 14 have been rejected, and 18 are still in review.  Over the past three years, the acceptance rate in the content section has been 15.12 percent.  As with the other sections, the number of pages published in the content section varies from year to year: 41.9 percent in 2007, 20.2 percent in 2006, and 16.3 percent in 2005.

 

FEATURES AND INFORMATION

William Walstad, Professor of Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is the associate editor of the features and information section.  Both Bill and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln must be thanked for their commitment to advancing economic education through Bill’s numerous activities.  Bill is the past chair of the Committee on Economic Education of the American Economic Association and co-author of the newly revised 4th edition of the Test of Understanding of College Economics.

            The features and information section contains articles that provide survey results, international and institutional comparisons, and descriptive studies on the economics curriculum and educational practices.  This year, there were 14 manuscripts submitted for review in the features and information section, of which one has been scheduled for publication, eight are still in review, and five have been rejected.  The long-term acceptance rate of this section is 21.28 percent.  The features and information section made up 6.6 percent of the page count in 2007, which compares to 8.2 percent in 2006 and 5.3 percent in 2005.

 

ONLINE

Kim Sosin, Professor Emeritus, Department of Economics, University of Nebraska at Omaha has been associate editor of the online section since its founding in 2000.  Kim is the past Chair of UNO’s department of economics.  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 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, only one percent of the JEE pages in 2007 were allocated to the published online notes, which is roughly the same as the allocation in 2006, 2005 and 2004.

            In 2007, Kim has recommended the acceptance of five pieces of which three were submitted this year. Of the nine pieces submitted this year, two were rejected and four are still under consideration. The long-term acceptance rate in the online section is 46.15 percent.

 

EDITORIAL BOARD

The terms of three JEE editorial board members ended in 2007.  Robin Bartlett (Denison University) has been on the JEE board since 1992, following her six years of service as an associate editor.  John Pencavel (Stanford University) has been on the JEE board since 1996, when he was also editor of the Journal of Economic Literature.  Cecilia Rouse (Princeton University), has been on the JEE board since 2000. The services of these three distinguished economists and educators are gratefully acknowledged.

New to the JEE editorial board are Jessica Holmes (Middlebury College), Casey Rothschild (Middlebury College), and Mark Setterfield (Trinity College). Jessica received her Ph.D. in economics from Yale University.  She has published in the areas of economic development, education, health, and mechanism design for charity auctions.  Casey earned his Ph.D. at MIT.  His research interests are in annuitization and insurance market regulation.   Mark’s Ph.D.is from Dalhousie University (Nova Scotia).  His interests are in macrodynamics, including the development and application of concepts of path dependency in macroeconomics.  Jessica, Casey and Mark will be working closely with newly appointed JEE content section editor David Colander.  Finally, Mike Watts is leaving his editorship of the JEE instruction section but joining the JEE editorial board and David Colander will leave the board to become editor of the content section.

 

EDITORIAL MATTERS

As reported in past JEE annual reports, one of the big issues facing the JEE has been the growing backlog of manuscripts accepted and scheduled for publication.  In 2006 and 2007, Heldref agreed to temporarily increase the JEE from 96 pages to 128 pages, which helped to reduce the backlog.  Manuscripts accepted in November 2007 are now being tentatively scheduled for publication in the Fall 2008 issue, for which work begins in April 2008.  Thus, following the Winter 2008 issue the size of the JEE will return to its historic 96 pages.

The screening of articles for publication in the JEE is critical to maintain and advance its prestige.  But the editorial practices of the JEE are intended to do more than screen articles; 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 239 referees used between October 11, 2006, and October 10, 2007, are listed in Table 4.  In the past, the JEE publisher Heldref enabled us to express our gratitude to each referee with a complimentary copy of the Winter issue in which referee names and affiliations appear.  This year, however, this practice comes to an end with a newly initiated Heldref cost-cutting policy.  The 239 referees will be recognized in the Winter 2008 issue but they will no longer receive a complimentary copy of that issue.  In addition, authors will no longer receive a complimentary copy of the issue in which their article appears; however, they will be able to access the issue without charge on the newly constructed Heldref web page.

            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, which is not unusual for a major academic print journaormal" style="line-height:150%">             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 the summer of 1989, these functions have been underwritten by Indiana University College of Arts and Science, for which the JEE is most thankful.  In October 2006, Christina Campoll came on board as the executive secretary of the JEE.  Christy has proven herself to be a most able office administrator and a welcome addition to the JEE team.

            The authors of each of the 43 articles, notes, and reviews published in 2007 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 for the e 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

Since 1981, Heldref Publications has been responsible for production, pricing, subscriptions, and the circulation of the JEE.  The four unnumbered pages at the back of this report contain data provided by Heldref on these items.

The regular individual print subscription rate for the four quarterly issues of the JEE was $65 in 2007-08, and $147 per year for institutions.   For 2008-09, there is a new pricing scheme that reflects Heldref’s initiative of making the JEE available electronically.   The individual rate is $65 for online only and $68 for joint print and online and the institutional rate for print and online is $185 and print only or online only is $154.  These are bargain prices compared to many other academic journals, such as those published by Elsevier.   

As of the end of October, the print circulation of the JEE was 871, which is a decrease from that in October 2006 when the circulation was 939.  Likewise, the yearly average circulation is 914, down from 990 in 2006.  Unfortunately, a downward trend in print circulation continues to be evident.  Over the past several years, other periodicals devoted to economic education and the economics of education have entered the market and at the same time the availability of information free on the internet has likely affected the JEE print circulation.  The management team at Heldref reports that similar trends are evident in other academic field journals.

            Heldref’s subscription data do not yet reflect the 2007 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 Denver, Colorado, October 3-6, 2007.  This year, 77 individual subscriptions were obtained from the NCEE network directors, which is comparable with the 78 NCEE annual meeting subscriptions received in 2006, at the special rate of $35 per year.  In addition to 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 Chicago (January 6, 2007), where Chair of the AEA Committee on Economic Education, Michael Watts, featured the JEE in his report, which he will again do at the New Orleans AEA meeting on January 5, 2008.

 

CONCLUDING COMMENTS

Decades before the Carnegie Foundation launched its scholarship of teaching and learning initiative, the National Council on Economic Education (NCEE, then called the Joint Council on Economic Education, JCEE) and the American Economic Association's Committee on Economic Education (AEACEE) already had a vision for a discipline-based SOTL journal when they cooperatively initiated the JEE.   Together the American Economic Association Committee on Economic Education, the National Council on Economic Education, and the editorial board of the JEE are responsible for the JEE’s long-term success. The NCEE’s financial commitment to and oversight of the JEE since its creation in 1969 has proved vital.  It is both this personal and institutional commitment that will ensure the success of the JEE well into the future.

                                                                                                William E. Becker

                                                                                                December 5, 2007