1990 Annual Report, Journal of Economic Education

Table of Contents


The 1990 summer issue of The Journal of Economic Education was the first edited by William Becker, who succeeded Kalman Goldberg as the Editor of the JEE in August 1989. As stated in last year's report, this change in editorship was not expected to result in any dramatic change in the format, content or procedures of the JEE, although some change in the composition of the board of editors was anticipated.

This report first discusses the initiatives taken this year on editorial board membership. It then discusses several tables that show the scope and level of activities conducted. These tables are appended at the end of this report. Table 1 summarizes the content of issues published in the past year and shows the balance achieved in the research, content, instruction, and the professional information sections of the JEE. Table 2 presents the mix of authors and their institutional affiliations. Table 3 shows the number of manuscripts processed and the rates at which manuscripts have been accepted. Table 6 provides a break down of research related articles published in economic education in the 1970s versus the 1980s. Information in these four tables is considered in the following sections of this report under the headings of research, content and instruction. Table 4 lists the referees used over the past year and Table 5 gives the time required to process published papers. Tables 4 and 5, along with the two pages of Heldref information on subscriptions, are discussed in the last section of this report, under the heading editorial matters.

Board of Editors

As planned, changes in the board of editors were initiated in 1990. First, Kalman Goldberg has continued as a member of the board of editors. For his past contribution as editor of the JEE, he was honored on December 28, 1989, at a luncheon at the Allied Social Science meeting in Atlanta.

Second, at the annual meeting of the associate editors in February, they agreed that it was redundant to be listed as both editors and board members. Thus, the associate editors are no longer listed in both functions. In addition, terms of service were confirmed with the following expiration dates.

Associate Editor-----------------Current term Expires

Robin Bartlett-------------------December, 1991

Hirschel Kasper------------------December, 1992

Peter Kennedy--------------------December, 1992

Michael Watts--------------------December, 1991

Third, board members whose terms ended this year were G. L. Bach, Alan S. Blinder, George Dawson, Hennry Hermanowicz, Michael MacDowell, Edwin Mansfield, and Francis H. Schott. For the services to the JEE of all these distinguished leaders in economic education we are grateful. New members on the board this year are William Baumol, Elchanan Cohn, Eric Hanushek, Marilyn Kourilsky, Sherwin Rosen, John Siegfried, Robert Solow, William Walstad, and continuing members are Carolyn Shaw Bell, Stephen G. Buckles, Robert Eisner, Rendigs Fels, Kalman Goldberg, W. Lee Hansen, Allen C. Kelley, and Barbara Reagan.

Past members of the board of editors together with the Joint Council on Economic Education and the American Economics Association Committee on Economic Education have done an excellent job nurturing the JEE. We have high expectations for the advancement of the JEE with its current board and continuing cooperative arrangement with the JCEE and AEA Committee.


The last issue for which Becker served as associate editor of the research section is also his first as editor of the JEE. Ninety-four percent of this extra large 140 page summer 1990 issue (Table 1) consisted of articles (Table 5) that resulted from the January, 1989, AEA/JCEE/JEE call for papers. Of the nine papers that were selected from the 31 papers submitted, six were ready for presentation at two special sessions of the Allied Social Science meeting in Atlanta, on December 28, 1989, while the remaining three were published after more extensive revision.

All nine papers were reviewed and selected by the referee panel of William Becker, William Greene (New York University), and new JEE board member Sherwin Rosen. The referee panel also prepared a review article that was published in two forms: a short version in the American Economic Review Proceedings and a longer version in the JEE special summer issue.

Peter Kennedy, Professor of Economics at Simon Fraser University, succeeds Becker as associate editor of the research section. The JEE is extremely fortunate to have the services of Kennedy. Kennedy's publications in economics and econometrics are extensive. He is the author of A Guide to Econometrics (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2nd ed, 1985), which is on the shelves of economists around the world. He also has been a regular contributor to the JEE. This past year he was on leave from Simon Fraser University, visiting the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Needless to say, there was some delay in the handling of manuscripts between Bloomington and Canterbury, even though extensive use was made of electronic mail.

The quality of articles in the research section can be expected to continue to grow under Kennedy's direction. Of more concern at this time, however, is the flow of papers to the research section. The proportion of pages going to the research section was only 8.8% in 1987, 20.3% in 1988, 20.0% in 1989, and 37% in 1990, Table 1. In 1991 this proportion is expected to fall back to the 1987 level because of the large number of articles consumed in the last several years, a decrease in submissions, and tougher acceptance standards.

Over the years the number of submissions to the research section at the college level has decreased. This decrease is consistent with the trend in economic education research generally. The total number of college level research articles published between the 1969-1979 period and the 1980-1990 period are given in Table 6. To reverse the downward trend in college level economic education research, Kennedy has led a writing team including himself, Bill Becker, Robert Highsmith, and Bill Walstad in preparing a paper that outlines a research agenda. This paper was commissioned by the American Economics Association Committee on Economic Education and it will be presented at the 1990 American Economics Association meetings in Washington, D.C. It will appear in two different published forms: an abridged version in The American Economic Review Proceedings and the full version in the JEE. In addition, publication of the newly revised TUCE (Test of College Economics) may help to stimulate research at the college level.

Content and Instruction

Michael Watts is Associate Editor of the Instruction Section and Hirschel Kasper is Associate Editor of the Content Section. As stated in last years report, these sections have become more significant in the article composition of the JEE. Together these two sections account for 39% of the pages published in 1990, Table 1. As highlighted in last years annual report, the JEE's ability to attract top articles in the instruction and content areas will be tested, however, by the existence of the Journal of Economics Perspectives and the introduction of an economic education section in Economic Inquiry.

Many of the world's best known economists have submitted articles for consideration in the instruction and content sections. This year has been especially impressive with articles coming from the likes of John Pencavel (Stanford) and Richard Quandt (Princeton University) accepted in the content section and articles by Donald D. Hester (University of Wisconsin) and James Scoville (University of Minnesota) accepted in the instruction section. More important still is the fact that articles in these sections are being cited in text books and articles in other journals, suggesting that they have been found useful.

To further increase the visibility of the content and instruction sections, the JCEE is seeking funding for a proposal on the use of mathematics and verbal communication skills in the teaching of economics at the college level. This proposal calls for a symposium on the topic with papers published in the JEE.

In the content section 27 manuscripts were processed this year and in the instruction section it was 38. Acceptance rates in both sections continue to be around twenty percent (Table 3). Since 1988 there has been a slight decrease in the number of pages published in the content section (23.9% in 1988, 19.6% in 1989, and 15% in 1990) while the number of pages in the instruction section increased slightly (17.2% in 1988, 25.4% in 1989, and 24% in 1990), as shown in Table 1.

Both Watts and Kasper must be congratulated for the success they have had with their sections. Appreciation must be given to their respective Departments of Economics at Purdue University and Oberlin College for the resources they are providing to advance economic education.


Robin Bartlett is the Associate Editor of the professional and book review section. The Department of Economics at Denison University has been assisting Bartlett for the past several years in processing manuscripts for her section. For this assistance, the JEE is most thankful.

Table 3 does not show complete cumulative acceptance rates for Bartlett's section. The articles published here that are special features and book reviews (typically written by invitation) are excluded from the table. Bartlett's section for the fall 1990 issue, for example, was entirely devoted to book reviews of the new Saunders and Walstad book on the principles course. The summer 1991 issue, for which Bartlett has taken primary responsibility, will be a special issue devoted to articles on the undergraduate economics major and related issues. Given that 1,042 of the 1,426 institutional subscriptions are college and university libraries and departments, it is important to renew the emphasis on college level issues.

Editorial Matters

The acceptance rate reported in Table 3 might be distorted in some way because Becker was on leave from Indiana University in Indonesia during the early fall of 1990. In his absence, and as planned beforehand, Michael Watts provided editorial decisions regarding the routing of manuscripts based only on abstracts. Unlike the normal process, articles submitted without abstracts were not assigned to an associate editor until an abstract had been received from the authors. In addition, no articles were accepted for publication during Becker's absence.

In reviewing Table 3 it also is important to remember that the associate editors and referees devote a significant amount of time assisting potential authors. Their reviews, comments, and suggestions for revision of papers that they believe have promise for JEE readers are an essential part of the editorial process. Less dedicated reviewers would have rejected out-of-hand some papers that have been transmuted by their advice.

Table 4 lists the names and institutional affiliations of the 1990 referees. The economic education community must express its deep appreciation for their extraordinary help to the JEE. The JEE continues to express its gratitude, more symbolic than substantive, with a complimentary copy of the JEE and in cases of special contributions, with a gratis subscription for one year.

In the early days of the JEE the concern was with accumulating a sufficient number of papers of acceptable quality to fill two issues per year. The information in Table 5 suggests that such is not the case now. Authors must wait a year or more to see their manuscripts in print because of the length of the queue of accepted articles. The review and revision processes leading up to acceptance also can take a year or more. Although this time to publication is not unusual relative to other top quality journals, it is a source of both pride and concern.

Assisting William Becker in the editing function at Indiana University is Suzanne Becker. Sue has a masters degree from the University of Minnesota and she has edited Bill's work for years. As acknowledged by several economic education researchers, all JEE authors are now benefiting from her insights. At Indiana University, the electronic word processing, data management and the expediting and tracking of manuscripts is handled by Elaine Yarde. Elaine has proved to be a most effective executive secretary and has earned the respect of those with whom she communicates.

At Heldref Publications, there has been quite a bit of turnover. Rosalind Springsteen replaced Anne Mattison who had replaced Martha Franklin as the Managing Editor for the JEE. Franklin still works for Heldref but not directly on the JEE. Springsteen is extremely competent and consults regularly with Franklin. Along with Sue Becker they were all involved in revising the style sheet for the JEE.

Bill Becker is scheduled to meet with the Heldref people in Washington in December. One of the key topics for that meeting will be the continued improvement in Heldref's ability to meet publication schedules. Noteworthy is the fact that both the summer and fall issues appeared within the designated seasons. It is expected that even greater improvements will be realized by having authors submit camera ready diagrams and figures when their articles are accepted for publication. Details for this change in editorial policy are now contained on the style sheet and associated documents.

In the past promotional flyers were prepared and sent from the editorial office to all instructors of undergraduate economics in the United States and Canada. This coming year Barbara Marney of Heldref handled the details for promotion with a major mailing to the AEA mailing list in the first quarter of 1990. In addition to mailing these brochures soliciting subscriptions, Bill Becker sent letters to all authors of accepted articles informing them of the importance of individual subscriptions. Bill Becker and JEE board member Bill Walstad also sent brochures to individuals with whom they had visited in Japan and Indonesia. Walstad has been instrumental as well in encouraging authors in England and Germany to submit articles to the JEE. To increase the visibility of the journal while increasing the circulation and quality of articles received more personal contacts by our board members are needed.

Table 6 contains circulation data. Paid subscriptions now total about 1,400. There has been a marked decrease from the all time high of a year ago when subscriptions topped 1,500. Council and Center Directors were again given the opportunity to "check-off" a subscription, at a special rate ($18.00/year), as part of the registration procedure for the annual meeting of the Joint Council. An all time record of 69 subscriptions were obtained from the JCEE network directors. These subscriptions are not yet reflected in the subscription data provided by Heldref.

Heldref is satisfied with the financial position of the JEE, although a small deficit continues to be forecast. As seen in Table 1, typically only four to nine percent of the pages in the JEE are devoted to ads, a place for future revenue growth.

The support of the Joint Council on Economic Education continues to be outstanding. It is reassuring to all engaged in the publication of the JEE that JCEE President Steve Buckles and JCEE Vice President for Program and Research Robert Highsmith are unreservedly strong advocates. New JEE board member John Siegfried, Chairman of the Economic Education Committee of the American Economic Association, is playing a key role in bringing the prestige of the AEA to economic education and the JEE. Finally, Phillip Saunders, Chairman of the Department of Economics at Indiana University has been instrumental in securing the resources necessary to house the editorial office at Indiana University. The continued involvement of all these individuals and organizations are essential to insure the future success of The Journal of Economic Education.


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