1992 Annual Report, Journal of Economic Education


Table of Contents


Introduction

In 1992 the Journal of Economic Education continued to consider and implement proposals that insure its advancement. This report presents and discusses the data that enable an assessment of the JEE's success over time.

Several tables (in the Appendix) are emphasized in the following sections. The content of each of the quarterly issues published this year is summarized in Table 1, which also shows the allocation of pages to the research, content, instruction, and professional information sections. Table 2 presents the mix of authors and their institutional affiliations. The number of manuscripts processed and the rates of manuscript acceptance are in Table 3. Table 4 lists the referees used over the past year and Table 5 gives the time required to process published papers. Along with the attached two pages of information from Heldref on subscriptions, these tables quantify the activities of the journal over the past year.

Editorial Board

This year the terms of Carolyn Shaw Bell and Barbara Reagan came to an end. Professor Bell has served on the JEE editorial board since 1982 and Professor Reagan since 1985. They have contributed to the JEE in many ways including: the reviewing and refereeing of manuscripts, the selection of associate editors, and the contribution of manuscripts.

The new board members are professors Rebecca Blank and William Greene. Blank is an associate professor of economics and education at Northwestern University. Her article in the American Economic Review (December 1991) on the effects of double-blind versus single-blind reviewing in the JEE and the other 37 journals that she identified as central to economics established her as an authority on publishing practices. She is putting this expertise to work for the JEE in the preparation of a review and critique of Martin Anderson's Impostors in the Temple.

William Greene is a professor of economics at New York University. He is the author of both the Limdep and Econometrics Toolkit computer programs, a graduate level econometrics textbook, and numerous articles including one in the JEE on research on high school economic education (coauthored with JEE board member Sherwin Rosen and Editor Bill Becker). Greene has been involved in National Council on Economic Education programs; he appreciates the difficulties in applying quantitative methods in assessing educational practices.

Members of the board of editors together with the National Council on Economic Education (formerly the Joint Council on Economic Education) and the American Economic Association Committee on Economic Education continue to do an excellent job overseeing and contributing to the five sections of the JEE: research, instruction, content, information, and qualitative studies.

Research

Peter Kennedy, professor of economics at Simon Fraser University, is associate editor of the research section. In addition to being indebted to Peter for his care and patience in reviewing manuscripts and assisting authors in getting their papers ready for publication, the JEE must express its thanks to Simon Fraser University for the resources it has provided to the JEE over the years that Peter Kennedy has been an associate editor.

Peter's efforts have resulted in a marked increase in the quality of articles appearing in the research section. Peter and his referees invest a significant amount of time identifying and then working with authors to get papers into shape for publication in the JEE. This review process is evident, for example, in Peter's work with Edward Gramlich and Glen Greenlee, of the University of Michigan. The Gramlich/Greenlee article on measuring teaching performance is forthcoming in the winter issue; it is expected to spark renewed interest in the relationship between student evaluations and student grades.

Along with our efforts to continue to improve quality is a concern about the flow of papers to the research section. As shown in Table 3, so far in 1992 there have been 23 papers submitted, which is below the average yearly submission count for the past three years. The proportion of pages going to the research section was 20.8 percent in 1992 (Table 1), a big jump from the 6.1 percent in 1991, but consistent with past proportions (37 percent in 1990, 20.0 percent in 1989, 20.3 percent in 1988, and 8.8 percent in 1987). As can be seen from both the 1992 (7.7 percent) and three year (28 percent) acceptance rates, Kennedy continues to be selective about recommending papers for publication.

Instruction

Professor Michael Watts is associate editor of the instruction section. In addition to our gratitude to Mike, thanks also must be given to the Krannert School of Management, for the support Purdue University has provided the JEE -- first when it current dean, Dennis Weidenaar, was a JEE associate editor and now for Mike. Since the early days of economic education, Purdue University has maintained a leadership position in economic education.

The JEE's ability to attract the best articles on teaching methods has been tested by the introduction of an economic education section in Economic Inquiry and the introduction of the Journal of Economic Perspectives by the American Economic Association. Competition for the best articles has not diminished the flow of articles to the instruction and content sections. JEE board member Marilyn Kourilsky has added to that flow with her article on mislearning and recovery in economic education that will appear in the winter 1993 issue.

The number of pages in the instruction section has been relatively constant over the past several years -- 17.2 percent in 1988, 25.4 percent in 1989, 24 percent in 1990, 21.1 percent in 1991, and 20.4 percent in 1992 (Table 1). Similar to the research section, only one of the 29 articles submitted this year has been accepted for publication (Table 3); 16 of these articles are still under consideration and 12 have been rejected. Over the three year period 25.3 percent of the articles have been accepted for publication in the instruction section.

Unfortunately, funding was not granted for proposals that were prepared last year for a symposium on the use and misuse of mathematics in the teaching of economics at the college level, with papers to be published in the JEE, and a second symposium on the teaching of intermediate micro- and macroeconomics, with the proceedings to be published in the JEE. Funding for these projects is no longer being sought actively, but the appearance of a potential donor would change that.

Looking to the future, two special topical issues are planned for the instruction section next year. The first will address the teaching of economics through writing exercises, with the lead article by JEE board member Lee Hansen of the University of Wisconsin. The second involves the use of experimental economics in the teaching of economics; it will feature a lead article by Arlington Williams and James Walker of Indiana University and a summary article by JEE board member Rendigs Fels, emeritus professor at Vanderbilt University.

Content

Hirschel Kasper, professor of economics at Oberlin College, is associate editor of the content section. We must express our appreciation to Oberlin for the support it has provided the JEE over the many years that Hirsch has been an associate editor.

In the content section, 37 manuscripts were processed this year, which is slightly more than in the past (Table 3). Over the past three years, the acceptance rate has been the lowest in the content section at only 15.1 percent. The content section accounted for only 7.2 percent of the pages in 1992 (Table 1) down from 14.6 percent of the pages published in 1991. There has been a noticeable downward trend in the number of pages published in the content section -- 15 percent in 1990, 19.6 percent in 1989, and 23.9 percent in 1988.

The reason for the downward trend in page count is not clear but efforts are underway to increase the proportion of pages going to the content section through direct solicitation of manuscripts from recognized authorities. The content share of pages in the JEE is expected to rise with the publication of more thought-provoking articles written by well-known masters. Of particular note this year is the continuing debate over the teaching of economies of scale and returns to scale. The latest in that exchange was a contribution by JEE board member Elchanan Cohn, of the University of South Carolina. The debate was initiated in 1990 with the publication of an article by Lila and Dale Truett, of the University of Texas. The Truetts are working currently on a second article for the JEE. A forthcoming article by JEE board member Robert Eisner of Northwestern University will address fiscal and monetary policy. Given the changes taking place in Washington, D.C., this topic should prove interesting.

Professional Information and Qualitative Studies

Professor Myra Strober of Stanford University is the associate editor of both the professional information and the new qualitative studies sections of the JEE. At Stanford University, Myra Strober is supported by the College of Education, to which the JEE must express its thanks.

The qualitative studies section was created by Myra this year when she took over the professional information section from editorial board member Robin Bartlett. In part, this section emphasizes studies that are based on direct observation of the teaching and learning process. In an article published in the spring 1992 issue, "Economics, Lies, and Videotapes," Strober and coauthor Allen Cook demonstrate the type of article she is seeking. In addition, Myra conducted a workshop at the National Council on Economic Education annual meeting of center and council directors this past October on inquiry methods she expects to see employed in articles submitted to this new section. Although no other papers have yet appeared in the qualitative studies section, we have high expectations for the development of this section.

In addition to the qualitative section, Myra is the associate editor of the professional information section. In this section, we continue to publish articles of general interest to academic economists. A highlight this year was the piece by A. W. Coats, of Duke University, on "Changing Perspectives of American Graduate Education in Economics, 1953 - 1991," with comments by Alice H. Amsden, of the New School of Social Research, and Munir Quddus, of the University of Southern Indiana.

The professional information section continues to make up a significant portion of the pages in the JEE, with 29.9 percent of the page count in 1992. In 1991 the professional information section was 46.4 percent of the pages, but this was primarily the result of special topical issues. Many of the articles published in the information section have been invited articles aimed at fulfilling a specific need. The long term acceptance rate (32.9 percent), however, continues to be most respectable.

Editorial Matters

Articles published in the JEE do receive recognition and do help define what we know about the teaching and learning of economics. For example, in JEE board member William Walstad's forthcoming Journal of Economic Literature article on the teaching of economics in high schools, there are 141 references, of which 78 are to academic journals. The Journal of Economic Education received the most citations, with 38, followed by the American Economic Review, with 16. A prior JEL review of the teaching of economics at the college level, by JEE board members John Siegfried and Rendigs Fels, involved 179 references: 121 were to academic journals, 69 to the JEE, and 34 to the AER.

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. Nonetheless, as stated by Rebecca Blank in her AER (December 1991) article, the JEE and the other 15 journals that use double-blind systems for reviewing do have lower acceptance rates and more critical referee reports than the 22 single-blind journals she considered.

Table 4 lists the names and institutional affiliations of the 210 referees used thus far in 1992. The economic education community must express its deep appreciation for their assistance to the JEE. The JEE continues to express its gratitude with an occasional complimentary copy of the JEE and in rare cases of special contributions, with a gratis subscription for one year.

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 or more 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. As long as the publisher's limit of 96 pages per issue is binding (Table 1), our queue will not be shortened greatly.

At Indiana University, Elaine Yarde ensures that all editorial office matters are in control. Elaine effectively and efficiently manages the electronic word processing, data management, and the expediting and tracking of manuscripts. Also assisting in the editorial process is Suzanne Becker. Sue has a masters degree from the University of Minnesota; she works closely with Bill and Elaine, and with Rosalind Springsteen at Heldref Publications in the editing process. Many of our authors have benefitted from the care and patience of both Elaine and Sue in the handling of manuscripts.

Rosalind Springsteen is the Managing Editor of the JEE at the Heldref Publications. Springsteen holds a masters degree from the University of Michigan in economics and was previously employed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Rosalind Springsteen is the one who insures that the final JEE product is of the highest quality and in readers' hands in the season designated on the issue's cover. With only one exception (which occurred this past winter as the result of a relocation of Heldref's headquarters), since the summer of 1990 each of the quarterly issues has been published on time. We all value Rosalind's effort and that of the entire team at Heldref Publications along with the Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation.

Circulation

The last two pages attached to this report contain circulation data that was prepared by Heldref for this report. Total active subscribers are now at 1,433, with 1,403 paid subscriptions. The subscription price increase initiated last year may have caused the reduction in subscriptions this year, although the time series trend of subscriptions does not suggest any material deviation.

National Council on Economic Education network members were again given opportunity to "check-off" a subscription, at a special price of $20 per year (which is $10 off the regular individual subscription rate and $35 off the institutional rate). This discounted price was made available as part of the registration procedure for the National Council's annual meeting of center and council directors, where this year Bill Becker gave a presentation on the JEE. In 1992, 71 subscriptions were obtained from the NCEE network, which is a relative high, with 68 such subscription in 1991 and 69 in 1990. These NCEE network subscriptions are not yet reflected in the total subscription figures reported by Heldref.

Heldref is satisfied with the financial position of the JEE but as of yet the NCEE has not been successful in negotiating a new contract with Heldref. Among other things, the number of pages that may be devoted to ads must be fixed and possibly the total number of text pages increased. Roberta Gallagher, Assistant Director for Administration at Heldref, is planning on sending the NCEE a revised copy of the agreement by December 1, 1992, and ideally discussions of this agreement can be completed within the year.

Closing Comments

The creative and scholarly activities of the associate editors, referees and the staff at Heldref keeps the JEE advancing from issue to issue. The JEE editorial board, together with the AEA Committee on Economic Education, does a good job of overseeing the long-term mission of the JEE. But without the ongoing support of the National Council on Economic Education, the JEE would not enjoy the success it has today. It is reassuring to all engaged in the publication of the JEE that the NCEE President Stephen Buckles and NCEE Vice President for Programs and Research Robert Highsmith are strong advocates of the JEE. Finally, Phillip Saunders, past chairman of the Department of Economics at Indiana University, must be recognized for his role in bringing the JEE to Indiana and in securing the resources necessary to maintain the editorial office at Indiana University. Current Department of Economics chairman, John Wilson, is continuing in that tradition. The support of the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University is thus most gratefully acknowledged.

William E. Becker
November 19, 1992



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