1994 Annual Report, Journal of Economic Education


Table of Contents


Introduction

This year marked the silver anniversary of the Journal of Economic Education. The first issue was published in the fall of 1969. As described by the late 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. More important, in the past 25 years the JEE has become both the source of information on the teaching of economics and a central journal within the discipline of economics. This report describes that history and emphasizes accomplishments in this past year.

In discussing the initiatives taken this year, tabular data are again presented for assessing JEE performance over time. Table 1, in the Appendix to this report, summarizes the content of each of the quarterly issues published this year; it also shows the allocation of pages to the research, content, instruction, and features and 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 4 lists the referees used over the past year, and Table 5 gives the time required to process published papers. In addition to the high level of activity suggested by the information in these five tables, the two attached tables on subscriptions, as provided by the JEE publisher Heldref Publications, a division of the nonprofit Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation, show a significant increase in subscriptions that resulted from the united effort of the National Council of Economic Education, the American Economic Association's Committee on Economic Education, and Heldref, which will be discussed in this report.

Historical Perspective

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. Initially it was a biannual publication. The NCEE oversaw publication, and the AEA Committee served as the editorial board, with Committee member Henry Villard serving as editor.

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 article review, selection, and scheduling. Financial support for these editorial functions continues to be provided by the NCEE and the six institutions of higher education that house the editor and associate editors at Indiana University, Oberlin College, Purdue University, Simon Fraser University, Stanford University, and the University of Nebraska. Today the JEE is truly a team effort.

In 1983, the JEE became a quarterly, when 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. Quality enhancements have continued. To celebrate the 25th anniversary a special, one-year cover was designed. Starting with the Winter issue of 1995 an updated version of our standard cover will be used.

The prestige of the JEE has increased greatly over the past 25 years since G.L. Bach and his colleagues lobbied for its establishment. The JEE is now the source of information on the teaching of economics. For example, a Journal of Economic Literature (December 1992) article by William Walstad on the teaching of economics in high schools had 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 John Siegfried and Rendigs Fels, involved 179 references: 121 were to academic journals, 69 to the JEE, and 34 to the AER.

The JEE is also proving itself to be a major source of information within the knowledge base of economics itself. For example, David Laband and Michael Piette, in a Journal of Economic Literature (June 1994) article, show the JEE ranked 27th out of 130 economics journals in terms of impact adjusted citations in 1990 to 1985-1989 articles. 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.

Citation counts, which can be considered an academic market version of dollar voting by consumers, clearly indicate that the JEE is not only the source of information on the teaching of economics, it is also now central to the discipline of economics. More important still, there are signs that the JEE is having a direct influence within the most prestigious departments of economics, which according to critics such as Martin Anderson (Impostors in the Temple) are not supposed to be interested in teaching. This year, for example, JEE editor William Becker was appointed to the external review committee of the University of Michigan's Department of Economics with the explicit purpose of assisting this world- renowned department in its teaching mission.

By any measure, the JEE is receiving recognition and defining what is known about the teaching and learning of economics. The JEE has become the forum for scholarly inquiries in economic education --- the goal of its founders 25 years ago.

Editorial Board

Stepping off the JEE editorial board this year is Rendigs Fels, one of the founding fathers of the JEE. In recognition of Ren's never wavering commitment to economic education, John Siegfried, Stephen Buckles, and C. Elton Hinshaw paid tribute to Ren in a Fall 1994 article that highlighted many of Ren's contributions to economic education. Also ending his 25 years of JEE board membership this year is Allen Kelley of Duke University, who, together with G.L.Bach, Ren Fels, and Henry Villard, was a member of the AEA Committee that saw the need for the JEE back in the late 1960s.

Michael Salemi, of the University of North Carolina, is joining the JEE editorial board. He is the newly appointed Chairman of the AEA Committee on Economic Education. He has already made several valuable contributions to the JEE. This year he introduced 255 new subscribers to the JEE, as will be discussed later in this report. The second position made vacant this year is anticipated to be filled by the new president of the National Council on Economic Education upon his or her appointment.

This year William Walstad, Director of the National Center for Research in Economic Education, became an JEE associate editor. He joins Michael Watts at Purdue, Myra Strober at Stanford, Peter Kennedy at Simon Fraser, and Hirschel Kasper at Oberlin. Together with the other members of the editorial board, it is this team of editors and their dedicated reviewers who maintain the quality of the JEE.

Research

Peter Kennedy, Professor of Economics at Simon Fraser University, is associate editor of the research section. In addition to his research, Peter is known in economics departments around the world for his Guide to Econometrics (MIT Press).

Peter's efforts for the JEE continue to result in articles of increasing quality. Peter and his referees invest a great amount of time working with authors to get papers into the best shape for publication. This review process, however, may be viewed as intimidating to less than confident researchers.

To encourage authors to attempt publishing in the research section, this year Bob Highsmith, NCEE Vice President for Program and Research, spearheaded a call for papers to be published as a special topical section in the JEE research section. The five selected papers will first be presented at the ASSA meetings in January 1995, and then refined for planned publication in the JEE.

We continue to have concern about the flow of papers to the research section. As shown in Table 3, so far in 1994 there have been 13 papers submitted, which is well below the average yearly submission count for the past three years. The proportion of pages going to the research section was 22 percent in 1994 (Table 1), an increase from the 12.8 percent in 1993, but still consistent with past proportions: 20.8 percent in 1992, 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. Of the papers submitted in 1994, none has been recommend for publication so far. Peter's three-year average acceptance rate of 15 percent is less than those in the other sections but most appropriate for the quality level Peter is advancing.

All of us in economic education are 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. This past summer, the editors of the JEE who attended the Western Economic Association meetings in Vancouver, B.C., were especially appreciative of the dinner meeting arranged by Peter.

Instruction

Michael Watts, Professor of Economics at Purdue University, is associate editor of the instruction section. As with the other associate editors, Michael is an accomplished researcher; for example, his application of panel data techniques in the assessment of teacher effects (that appeared in the Review of Economics and Statistics) was pathbreaking. Just this year, he and JEE editor William Becker prepared a review of "Teaching Methods in Undergraduate Economics," which is forthcoming in Economic Inquiry (EI).

Publication of the Becker/Watts article in EI provides explicit recognition that our early concern about the lack of quality papers to support the newly created EI economic education section and the publication of teaching papers in the Journal of Economic Perspectives was misplaced. The availability of multiple outlets may have increased activity in economic education. This fall, for example, the Department of Economics at Miami University, Ohio, hosted its first conference on the teaching of the intermediate microeconomics course, with papers scheduled to be considered for publication in the JEE. Earlier this past year, the University of Cincinnati and the University of Pittsburgh introduced similar conferences. All of this activity can be expected to increase the flow of manuscripts to the JEE.

The number of pages in the instruction section decreased this year, but with the exception of 1993, 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, 20.4 percent in 1992, and 46.25 percent in 1993. The 1994 proportion of 21.7 percent is well within the limits established over time. (Last year's relative high can be traced to the topical Fall issue that was entirely devoted to experimental economics.)

This year 41 manuscripts were submitted in the content section, of which a decision was made on 18, with only 22.2 percent of those accepted for publication (Table 3). Over the three-year period 24.73 percent of the articles have been accepted for publication in the instruction section. Clearly Mike is maintaining a good screening of potential articles while increasing the importance of the instruction section to the JEE.

Thanks must be given to Mike Watts as well as 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.

Content

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 graduate education of economists. His expertise as an economist and educator is reflected in his section of the JEE.

This year 28 manuscripts were submitted to the content section. This is a slight decrease from past years (Table 3). None of the articles submitted this year has yet been accepted, although 22.47 percent of the manuscripts submitted since January 1, 1992, have been accepted for publication.

The content section accounted for 26.1 percent of the pages in 1994 (Table 1). Until last year there had been a noticeable downward trend in the number of pages published in the content section -- 12.3 percent in 1993, 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, there was a deliberate attempt 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 special note this year was the Winter issue article by Christina D. Romer on "The End of Economic History?" Writing in the Journal of Economic Prospectives (Summer 1994), Bernard Saffran recommended Romer's article as a must read for her argument that economic history is no longer a separate subfield of economics but is rather an integral part of the discipline.

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.

Features and Information

The features and information section was created In 1994 when William Walstad of the University of Nebraska became an associate editor. This new section replaced the professional information section. Bill's experience in conducting national surveys, such as the one he just completed for JEE board member Marilyn Kourilsky at the Kauffman Foundation, should prove invaluable to him in directing this new section. He plans to expand the coverage of surveys while maintaining the publication of articles of general interest to academic economists, which were previously published in the professional information section.

Bill Walstad and the University of Nebraska deserve our thanks for taking on the responsibility of this new section. Over the years, Bill and the entire group associated with the Nebraska Council on Economic Education have done much to advance economic education.

The features and information section makes up a sizable portion of the pages in the JEE, with 16.2 percent of the page count in 1994. Historically many of the articles published in the information section were invited articles aimed at fulfilling a specific need. The features and information section is now dominated by unsolicited manuscripts, with 13 papers submitted this year, of which 5 are still in review, 7 have been rejected, and one has been accepted. The long-term acceptance rate of this new section, when combined with the qualitative and information section it replaced, is 31.67 percent, which is still a respectable rate, especially given that many of the papers in the old professional information section were invited.

Qualitative Studies

The qualitative studies section began with the publication of "Economics, Lies, and Videotapes" (Spring 1992 ), by Myra Strober and Allen Cook. Now a dean in the College of Education at Stanford University, Myra has served as associate editor of this section since its inception. We are grateful to her, and to Stanford for their involvement with the JEE.

The qualitative section was to emphasize studies based on direct observation of the teaching and learning process. With the exception of Myra's article, there have been no accepted articles in this section. This is surprising because Myra conducted a workshop on qualitative analysis at the National Council on Economic Education annual meeting of center and council directors, which was met with enthusiasm. This enthusiasm suggested that there were many in the NCEE network who wanted a qualitative studies section in the JEE, but to date they have produced no manuscripts acceptable to JEE referees. One paper was submitted for consideration this year, but, its publication in the JEE is doubtful. Unless there is a marked increase of papers submitted to this section, with some accepted for publication, this section will be discontinued.

Special Topics and Projects

In the past, the JEE has published special issues and sections devoted to certain topics. Looking to the future there are several such issues planned. As already stated, special topical sections are planned around papers to be presented at the ASSA meeting in January, and the papers presented at Miami University's conference on the teaching of intermediate macroeconomics. In addition, JEE board member William Baumol and William Becker are working on an edited volume showing the contribution that economics is making to education. JEE board members Elchanan Cohn, Rendigs Fels, and Sherwin Rosen, along with other experts in the area, have contributed chapters for that volume. This work is being supported by a grant from the Russell Sage Foundation.

An innovation this fall was the publication of noteworthy statements from well-known scholars and public figures on the nature of economics and economic education. Quoted material may be presented to stand alone, or ideally, be paired to show similar or alternative views. To ensure accuracy, a full citation to the original source must be provided along with a photocopy of the page on which the quote appears. In the Fall and forthcoming Winter issue, Phillip Saunders, Indiana University - Bloomington, shares some of his favorite quotes. In all subsequent issues, readers will be notified or our interest in such material by a short announcement.

The editorial office at Indiana University is currently exploring the use of Mosaic as the Internet tool for placing the JEE table of contents on the World-Wide Web when it is first sent to Heldref Publications, approximately six months before the issue is published. With the notable exception of Hal Varian's work at the University of Michigan, there are few examples of economists who are working at making the transition from printed textbook material to the audio, video, graphical, and textural potential of the World-Wide Web in publishing information on the Internet. It is fun to speculate on whether the JEE could become a focal point for possible future dissemination of pedagogy via the National Information Infrastructure. Placing the JEE table of contents on the Internet will be an extremely small, but yet essential move in that direction. At the Indiana University editorial office we have begun to learn about this technology and it use in teaching economics.

Finally, in the area of special projects, two projects are planned as extensions of JEE editor William Becker and associate editor Michael Watts' review of teaching methods in undergraduate economics. First, a survey of college teachers is underway to establish what activities and instructional methods instructors are actually using in their classroom. Second, a monograph is planned that will contain the most noteworthy of classroom and homework activities. Some have already been identified in the Becker/Watts article, but they have not yet been pulled together in one place. The planned monograph will provide this.

Editorial Matters

The associate editors and referees devote a significant amount of time assisting potential authors. Their reviews, comments, and suggestions for the 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 252 referees used in 1994. The economic education community must express its deep appreciation for their extraordinary help to the JEE. This year, as initiated for the first time last 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 have been securing sufficient papers to fill our four issues each year with quality articles on the teaching of economics, although the relative fall off in submissions this year cannot be ignored. Potential authors have learned that they 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, including his 900 plus page statistics book published by South-Western Publishing Company. All JEE authors are now benefiting from Sue's insights and skills.

The electronic word processing, data management, and the expediting and tracking of manuscripts is handled by Julie Marker at Indiana University. Although with the JEE only since last spring, Julie has proved to be a most effective executive secretary. She is a fast learner and is dedicated to ensuring that the quality of work leaving the Indiana office is of the highest quality. Elaine Yarde, past JEE executive secretary, proved invaluable over this past year of searching for a high-quality executive secretary and has assisted Julie in her learning process.

Rosalind Springsteen is the JEE Managing Editor for Heldref Publications. Springsteen holds a masters degree from the University of Michigan in economics and was previously employed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. She knows what has to be done to produce a readable and timely journal, and she gets the job done. It is Rosalind Springsteen, together with the Heldref staff, who ensures 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 all appreciative of their efforts. This year the graphics department, led by Karen Eskew, deserves special recognition for the work done on the new appearance of the JEE to mark the 25th year in 1994 and for the new cover that will appear in 1995.

As planned and managed by Walter Beach, Publisher, and Sheila Donoghue, Editorial Director, Heldref Publications has worked the JEE into a positive cash flow position. Thus, for the first time in JEE history, Heldref has been able to make a financial commitment to the editorial office at Indiana University. It is most fitting that this excellent turn of financial events should occur in the latter part of the silver anniversary year of the JEE. We can only plan for and hope that the JEE will continue to advance on all fronts including the financial.

Circulation

The last two unnumbered tables at the back of this report contain circulation data as provided by Heldref Publications. Paid subscriptions in November were 1,607, with 1,591 copies of the fall issue circulated in October. This is a marked increase from our previous high in 1990 when subscriptions topped 1,500. This is especially impressive because subscription prices are now higher. Regular individual subscriptions are now priced at $35 and institutions must pay $70 for a four issue subscription.

The increase in subscriptions this year can be traced to the Teacher Training Program being directed by newly appointed JEE board member Michael Salemi and long-time JEE supporter Robert Highsmith. Through their efforts and the cooperation of Heldref, 255 JEE subscriptions were processed for TTP participants at a special, one time, group rate that worked out to about $19 per four issue subscription. Next year these TTP participants will be given the opportunity to subscribe individually at the Council and Center Director rate, but then in the following year they will be billed as regular subscribers.

Not yet reflected in the subscription data provided by Heldref are the changes in Council and Center Directors' subscriptions. These subscriptions are obtained as part of the registration procedure for the annual meeting of the National Council on Economic Education, which was held this year in Wiliamsburg, Virginia. This year 76 individual subscriptions were obtained from the NCEE network directors who subscribed at the special individual rate of $28 per year. These 76 subscriptions are slightly below last year's all time high of 81 but above the previous year's high of 71.

To maintain and ideally increase subscriptions, Kerri Kilbane, Promotion Director for Heldref, is planning for the development of a new brochure and a direct mailing to several thousand prospective subscribers. This promotion is planned to begin in January, 1995.

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 past President Steven Buckles and NCEE Vice President for Programs and Research Robert Highsmith are unreservedly strong advocates. We look forward to the same type of support from the new NCEE President whose appointment is expected shortly. JEE board member and past Chairman of the Economic Education Committee of the American Economic Association, John Siegfried, played a key role in bringing the prestige of the AEA to economic education and the JEE. As already demonstrated by the current Chairman of this AEA committee, Michael Salemi, it seems safe to say that we can expect the continued endorsement of the committee in the future.

John Wilson, Chair of the Department of Economics at Indiana University, must be thanked for continuing to house the JEE within the department. It is the support of the department and the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University, under the direction of Dean Morton Lowengrub, that maintains the JEE editorial offices at Indiana University. The continued involvement of all these individuals and organizations are essential to ensure the ongoing success of the Journal of Economic Education.

William E. Becker
December 2, 1994



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