1993 Annual Report, Journal of Economic Education


Table of Contents


Introduction

The first issue of the JEE was published in the fall of 1969. Its purpose, described by G. L. Bach in the 1971 AER Papers and Proceedings, "is to provide a channel of communication for research work and related publishable material with reference to economic education, primarily at the undergraduate level in colleges and universities, but including junior colleges and, to some extent, the high schools."(p. 505). This year John Siegfried, Chairman of the AEA Committee on Economic Education, again featured the JEE in his AER Papers and Proceeding's account of the Committee's long-term involvement with the National Council on Economic Education in overseeing and sponsoring the JEE.

This report describes this year's JEE activities that are the result of the AEA and NCEE joint efforts initiated some 25 years ago and continued to this day. In the discussion of the scope and level of those activities, several tables will be presented and discussed. Table 1 summarizes the content of issues published in 1993 and shows the balance achieved in the research, content, instruction, information, and the qualitative studies 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 4 lists the referees used over the past year. Table 5 gives the time required to process published papers, and the last three unnumbered tables provide informa-tion on subscriptions and a financial report as provided by our publisher Heldref Publications, a division of the nonprofit Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation. These tables quantify the initiatives taken by the journal over the past year.

Editors

This year an editorial change was necessitated by Associate Editor Myra Strober's appointment as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the School of Education at Stanford University. The added duties of this position meant that Myra could not continue as an editor of both the Professional Information section and the Qualitative Studies section; however, she has agreed to continue directing Qualitative Studies.

William Walstad, professor of economics, University of Nebraska, and one of the leading researchers in economic education, has agreed to serve as an associate editor of the JEE. Bill's new section will be called Features and Information. It will include topics similar to those published in the Professional Information section plus features that Bill will be defining.

The prestige of the JEE Editorial Board together with that of the National Council on Economic Education and the American Economics Association Committee on Economic Education has enabled the JEE to attract top level scholars to serve as editors. In addition to Myra Strober and Bill Walstad, we are fortunate to have Peter Kennedy, professor of economics at Simon Fraser University, as associate editor of the research section. Beyond his published research, Peter is known in economics departments around the world for his Guide to Econometrics (MIT Press), the third and latest edition of which was reviewed by JEE board member William Greene in the Fall issue. Hirschel Kasper, professor of economics at Oberlin College, is associate editor of the content section. Hirschel was recently a key contributor, via an article in the Journal of Economic Literature, to the debate on appropriate education of economists. Michael Watts, professor of economics at Purdue University, is associate editor of the instruction section. Michael's application of panel data techniques in the assessment of teacher effects (which appeared in the Review of Economics and Statistics) was pathbreaking. The JEE is proud of the fact that its editors are masters of their discipline as well as committed to its teaching.

According to William Cashin and Victoria Clegg of the Kansas State University Center for Faculty Evaluation and Development, there are over 120 journals devoted to education in specific academic fields and another 45 devoted to higher education in general. By any measure of scholarship, the JEE is among the best of these journals on teaching.

For instance, the stature of the JEE was made clear this year by an American Association of Higher Education colloquium to which the JEE editor and eight other editors of the "best teaching journals" were invited. Also made clear at that colloquium on teaching journals was that the JEE may be unique in its emphasis on articles that are attempting to make a contribution to the discipline itself and education generally, as reflected in citations and other forms of recognition by economists and education specialists alike.

David Laband and Michael Piette, in a forthcoming (1994) Journal of Economic Literature article, show the JEE ranked 27th out of 130 economics journals in terms of impact adjusted citations in 1990 to 1985-1989 articles. Earlier, the 1980 impact adjusted citations to 1975-1979 articles showed the JEE ranked 50th out of the 108 journals considered. That is, in ten years the JEE moved from little better than the median to the top 21 percent. These citation counts, which can be considered the scientific community's version of dollar voting by consumers for goods and services, clearly indicate that the JEE is now central to the discipline of economics.

The desire of the JEE to be central to economics may come under attack from those trying to capitalize on the message contained in books such as Impostors in the Temple, reviewed by JEE board member Rebecca Blank in the Summer issue. Increasing calls for simplistic measures of productivity, inexpensive outcome assessment, and head counts can be expected from some education reformers. The JEE will guard against giving such reform advocates a platform. It will attempt to keep the teaching and communication of economics aimed at the science of economics and away from pedagogical fads. Toward that goal, JEE board member William Baumol and editor William Becker are working currently on an edited volume showing the contribution that economics is making to education. JEE board members Elchanan Cohn, Rendigs Fels, Eric Hanushek, and Sherwin Rosen, along with other experts in the area, are scheduled to write chapters for that volume. This work is being supported by a grant from the Russell Sage Foundation.

Research

We are indebted to Professor Peter Kennedy for his care and patience in reviewing manuscripts and assisting authors in getting their papers ready for publication. We are also indebted to Simon Fraser University for the resources it has provided to the JEE over the years that Peter Kennedy has been an associate editor. The JEE expresses its thanks to both Peter and Simon Fraser University.

Peter's efforts have resulted in an 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 appeared in the Winter issue; it is expected to spark renewed interest in the relationship between student evaluations and student grades.

We continue to have concern about the flow of papers to the research section. As shown in Table 3, so far in 1993 there have been 24 papers submitted, which is close to the average submission count for the past three years. Kennedy has not yet recommended that any of these recent submissions be accepted for publication. His three year 23.4 percent rate of acceptance is in keeping with the other sections. The proportion of pages going to the research section was 12.8 percent in 1993 (Table 1), a drop from the 20.8 percent in 1992, but still consistent with past proportions: 6.1 percent in 1991, 37.0 percent in 1990, 20.0 percent in 1989, 20.3 percent in 1988, and 8.8 percent in 1987. Kennedy clearly does not rush papers to press; he continues to work with potential authors in assisting them get their papers ready for publication.

Content

We must express our appreciation to Hirschel Kasper and to Oberlin College for the support it has provided the JEE over the many years that Hirsch has been an associate editor.

This year 34 manuscripts were submitted to the content section. This is a slight increase over past years (Table 3) with a slight increase in the acceptance rate as well, with 22.2 percent of the manuscripts submitted in 1993 accepted for publication.

The content section accounted for 12.3 percent of the pages in 1993 (Table 1). Until this year, there had been a noticeable downward trend in the number of pages published in the content section -- 7.2 percent in 1992, 14.6 percent 1991, 15 percent in 1990, 19.6 percent in 1989, and 23.9 percent in 1988. As stated last year, a deliberate attempt was made to increase the proportion of pages going to the content section through direct solicitation of manuscripts from recognized authorities and through the publication of more thought-provoking articles. Of particular note in the Summer issue was an article by board member Robert Eisner of Northwestern University that addressed fiscal and monetary policy. Looking to the future, we have scheduled articles by Christina D. Romer (Winter 1994) on "The End of Economic History?", Robert H. Porter on "Recent Developments in Empirical Industrial Organization," Bennett McCallum on "Macroeconomics After Two Decades of Rational Expectations," and other luminaries. Many of these high visibility papers were presented last year at the American Economic Association annual meetings in Anaheim, California.

Instruction

In addition to our gratitude to Michael Watts, thanks also must be given to the Krannert School of Management, for the support Purdue University has provided the JEE -- first when its current dean, Dennis Weidenaar, was a JEE associate editor and now for Mike. Purdue University continues to maintain a leadership position in economic education.

The number of pages in the instruction section increased dramatically this year with 46.25 percent of the four issues devoted to instruction (Table 1). In the past, the proportion of pages going to the instruction section has been relatively constant -- 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. This year's increase can be traced to the topical issues that Michael Watts packaged. In the Summer issue the instruction section was devoted to the use of writing in the teaching of economics. The entire Fall issue was devoted to the use of experimental economics in the classroom. For the most part, these papers went through the normal refereeing process even though they were intended for special issues.

Only 14.3 percent of the 45 articles submitted to the instruction section this year have been accepted for publication (Table 3). Over the three year period, 27.1 percent of the articles have been accepted for publication in the instruction section. Clearly Mike has reined in the acceptance rate while increasing the importance of the instruction section to the JEE.

Contrary to the concern we felt when Economic Inquiry added its economic education section, and the American Economic Association started the Journal of Economic Perspectives, competition for the best articles has not diminished the flow of high quality articles to either the instruction or the content sections. We have gone out and attracted the best of articles for our topical issues. As a continuation of that effort, this year Michael Watts reworked the proposal for a symposium on the teaching of intermediate microeconomics. He plans to seek funding with the endorsement of the AEA Committee on Economic Education, of which he became a member this year.

Professional Information and Qualitative Studies

At Stanford University, Myra Strober is supported by the School of Education, to which the JEE expresses its thanks.

The qualitative studies section was created by Myra when she took over the Professional Information section from editorial board member Robin Bartlett. In part, this section was to emphasize studies that are based on direct observation of the teaching and learning process. With the exception of her article published in the Spring 1992 issue, "Economics, Lies, and Videotapes," there have been no accepted articles in this section. This is surprising since Myra conducted a workshop at the National Council on Economic Education annual meeting of center and council directors, which was met with enthusiasm. There are many in the NCEE network who want a qualitative studies section in the JEE. We hope that it is just a matter of time before acceptable manuscripts are forthcoming.

In addition to the qualitative section, Myra has been the associate editor of the Professional Information section. In this section, we continue to publish articles of general interest to academic economists. A highlight in the Spring issue was an article by Susan Feiner on the treatment of women and minorities in introductory economics textbooks.

The Professional Information section continues to make up a significant portion of the pages in the JEE, with 21.8 percent of the page count in 1993. Historically many of the articles published in the information section have been invited articles aimed at fulfilling a specific need. More recently this section has been dominated by unsolicited manuscripts, with 26 papers submitted this year, of which 13 are still in review and 13 have been rejected. The long-term acceptance rate of 27 percent is most respectable for this section.

In 1994 the Professional Information section will become the Information and Features section and be directed by William Walstad of the University of Nebraska. Bill expects to expand the coverage while maintaining its emphasis on survey-type studies. Bill's experience in conducting national surveys should prove invaluable to him in directing this section.

Editorial Matters

As pointed out last year, and as confirmed by the forthcoming Laband and Piette Journal of Economic Literature ranking of economics journals, articles in the JEE do receive recognition and do help define what we know about the teaching and learning of economics. In the JEL (December 1992) article by William Walstad on the teaching of economics in high schools, for example, there were 141 references, of which 78 were 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 their potential to be recognized and cited as making a lasting contribution to teaching, although these are important considerations. The associate editors and their referees devote a significant amount of time assisting potential authors in preparing their papers for possible publication even if that publication does not occur in the JEE. The associate editors' and referees' reviews, comments, and suggestions for revisions of papers that they believe have promise for academic economists 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. This year some 285 referees were involved in the reviewing process, including this year's Nobel Laureate Douglass North.

Table 4 lists the names and institutional affiliations of the 1993 referees. The economic education community must express its deep appreciation for their extraordinary assistance to the JEE and its authors. This year Heldref Publications expressed the JEE's gratitude to its referees with a complimentary copy of the Winter issue, which is the issue in which all referees listed in Table 4 will again be acknowledged. In addition, in a very few cases, exemplary contributors to the review process received a gratis subscription for one year in recognition of their work.

The information in Table 5 suggests that we are securing sufficient articles to more than fill our four issues each year with quality information on the teaching of economics. Unfortunately, authors must wait a year or more before seeing their accepted 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 in excess of a year. 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.

Since the summer of 1989 when the JEE editorial office moved to Indiana University, the electronic word processing, data management, and the expediting and tracking of manuscripts has been 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. It was with great regret, therefore, that Elaine's resignation was accepted in October. She has taken a new position at Indiana University but as part of this arrangement the College of Arts and Sciences made funds available for her to continue her duties for the JEE on an overload basis.

I am pleased to announce that on November 23, 1993, Sandra Reynolds accepted the vacant JEE secretarial position. Elaine and Sandy are now working together for a smooth transition. Their cooperative efforts are visible in this report.

The Managing Editor of the JEE at Heldref Publications is Rosalind Springsteen. Rosalind holds a masters degree from the University of Michigan in economics and was previously employed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Rosalind Springsteen together with the Heldref staff are now making sure that the final JEE product is of the highest quality and in readers' hands in the season designated on the issue's cover. We are in Rosalind's debt.

The entire team at Heldref Publications, led by its publisher Walter Beach, deserves thanks for a job well done. In particular, the art department deserves special recognition for the work being done on the new appearance of the JEE to mark our 25th year in 1994. We are currently thinking of other ways to capitalize on our silver anniversary.

Circulation and Related Business

The last three unnumbered tables at the back of this report contain circulation data and a financial report. Paid subscriptions now total about 1,450. There has been a slight decrease from the recent high of 1990 when subscriptions topped 1,500, although subscription prices are now higher. Effective January 1, 1994, individual subscriptions are tentatively priced at $33.00 and institutions will pay $63.00. Council and Center Directors will again be given the opportunity to "check-off" a subscription, at a special rate, which is scheduled to be $28.00 next year. As part of the registration procedure for the annual meeting of the National Council on Economic Education in Milwaukee this year, 81 subscriptions were obtained from the NCEE network directors, which is a new high from the 71 such subscriptions received in 1992. These subscriptions changes are not yet reflected in the subscription data provided by Heldref.

This year it has been possible for Roberta Gallagher, Assistant Director for Administration at Heldref, to provide detailed financial records on Heldref's income and expenses as incurred in its publication of the JEE. Roberta initiated a new functional accounting system that has made it possible for her to produce the attached table of Heldref's income and expenditures on the JEE. With a $3,423 surplus in income over expenses, Heldref is satisfied with the financial position of the JEE but of course would like to see more pages devoted to paid ads. As seen in Table 1, typically only 4 to 8 pages in the JEE are devoted to ads. Ideally the size of the JEE and the amount of space available for ads and the possibility of revenue sharing would be well defined in a contract. Attention should be given to the potential costs that might be incurred by the Indiana office from Heldref's request that both page proof and dummy copies be checked to cut down on printing costs. Other costs currently borne by Indiana University and the National Council on Economic Education also might be more appropriately shouldered by Heldref. Discussions on an updated agreement between Heldref and the NCEE continue, as they have for the past few years.

Closing Comments

The support of the National Council on Economic Education continues to be outstanding. It is reassuring to all engaged in the publication of the JEE that NCEE President Steve Buckles and NCEE Vice President for Programs and Research Robert Highsmith are unreservedly strong advocates. 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 -- that John devoted the entire 1993 AER proceedings report to the JEE was especially appreciated. Finally, and most importantly, the encouragement and support of the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University, under the direction of Dean Morton Lowengrub, must be gratefully acknowledged. The continued involvement of all these individuals and organizations are essential to insure the future success of the Journal of Economic Education.

William E. Becker
November 30, 1993



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