1995 Annual Report, Journal of Economic Education


Table of Contents


Introduction

This annual report presents and discusses the data that enable an assessment of the Journal of Economic Education's efforts in 1995 as well as its successes over its 26-year history. Because a performance review of the JEE was undertaken this year by the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University, this annual report first considers the case made for the JEE as part of that review. It then discusses the research, content, instruction, qualitative studies, and features and information sections of the JEE. Five tables are introduced to show the level of JEE activities this year and to make possible yearly comparisons. Table 1 summarizes the contents of each of the quarterly issues, giving the allocation of pages to each of the 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. Finally, three tables on pricing, subscriptions, and circulation are provided by the JEE publisher, Heldref Publications, a division of the nonprofit Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation.

The Case for the JEE

The summer of 1995 marked the sixth year of support of the editorial office by the Department of Economics and the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University. To ensure the continuation of that support into the foreseeable future, COAS Dean Morton Lowengrub requested a review of the JEE's contribution to the teaching, research, and service missions of the department and college. He appointed a prestigious review committee (M. Jeanne Peterson, Professor of History and Executive Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences; George von Furstenberg, Rudy Professor of Economics; and David Ransel, Professor of History and Editor of the American Historical Review). The material provided for the review makes a most impressive case for the JEE's contribution to the teaching and learning of economics, as reflected in the committee's strong recommendation for the JEE.

To believers, the case for the JEE does not have to be made. But, unlike mathematics and several of the natural sciences, where the importance of teaching appears to be accepted for the education of both specialists and the general public, the significance of teaching and the need for a public educated in economics are debated among economists. As seen in books such as Impostors in the Temple, economists have been singled out for their contempt of undergraduate teaching. In his letter of support for the JEE, as submitted to the Indiana University review committee, Journal of Economic Literature Editor John Pencavel stated that the JEE is essential to the discipline because it is the only journal to which we can point to counter the negative claims regarding economists' interest in teaching.

But the JEE is more than a countervailing force; it is central to the discipline of economics. This centrality of the JEE can be seen, for example, in the study by David Laband and Michael Piette, in the Journal of Economic Literature (June 1994), reporting that the JEE ranks 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 the 53rd percentile up to the 79th percentile. The JEE cannot be ignored in considering the creation and transfer of knowledge in economics, as recognized by Rebecca Blank in her American Economic Review (December 1991) study of double-blind versus single-blind reviewing practices. The JEE was one of 38 journals that she identified as central to economics.

Possibly of more direct interest here, the JEE is the journal in economic education that is recognized worldwide for presenting innovative ideas in the teaching and learning of economics. There is no other journal more widely cited in economic education itself. For example, a JEL (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 JEE received the most citations, with 38, followed by the AER, with 16. A 1979 JEL review of the teaching of economics at the college level, by John Siegfried and Rendigs Fels, included 179 references: 121 were to academic journals, 69 to the JEE, and 34 to the AER. JEE editor Bill Becker is working currently on an invited JEL article on college-level teaching that should again demonstrate the importance of the JEE in fostering innovations in the teaching of undergraduates.

Citation counts clearly indicate that the JEE is both central to the discipline of economics and the source of information on the teaching of economics. More important still, there are signs that the JEE is having a direct influence within the most prestigious departments of economics. Last year, for example, JEE editor Bill Becker served on 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. In the summer of 1995, many of the proposals for undergraduate teaching were implemented, including the creation and the appointment of a director of undergraduate studies with authority over teaching practices.

Anecdotal evidence can also be provided to show that the JEE is not only influencing the teaching of economics in specific departments but influencing the content of economics as well. For example, Christina D. Romer's article "The End of Economic History?"(Winter 1994) was singled out by Bernard Saffran, in Economic Perspectives (Summer 1994), 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. Other articles appearing in the content section, for which Hirschel Kasper is the associate editor, can be identified for their contribution to economic thought.

The JEE is recognized worldwide as the source of information in all areas of economic education. As discussed later in this report, the JEE now has a multilevel World Wide Web site with a search engine for keyword inquiries.

In addition to the JEE's presence on the World Wide Web, our editors are working to advance the JEE globally. For instance, JEE associate editor of the features and information section, William Walstad, recently edited a book, An International Perspective on Economic Education (Kluwer 1994), in which heavy use is made of information in JEE articles with international appeal. Associate editor of the instruction section, Michael Watts, continues to travel regularly to the former Soviet Union as a consultant and teacher. This year associate editor of the research section, Peter Kennedy, spent the second quarter in New Zealand on a visiting appointment at the University of Canterbury. Both editor Bill Becker and associate editor Myra Strober were in Australia this year on visiting appointments at the University of Melbourne. Bill also spent five months in Australia with joint visiting appointments at the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia, where he consulted, lectured, and continued research in economic education. In fact, this report was in part completed with the support of these Australian universities, for which appreciation is expressed.

In the early years of the JEE, the late G. L. Bach (then Chair of the American Economic Association's Committee on Economic Education and a founding father of the JEE) stated that the goal of the Journal of Economic Education "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."(American Economic Review, May 1971) As stated by long-time advocates Phillip Saunders and W. Lee Hansen, in their letters to the Indiana University JEE review committee, the JEE has fulfilled this goal and is moving to expand its reach beyond the United States. What follows in this report is an elaboration of how the JEE has progressed in 1995.

Research

In the research section, we publish original theoretical and empirical studies that deal with the analysis and evaluation of teaching and learning methods and materials. Peter Kennedy, Professor of Economics, Simon Fraser University, is the associate editor of the research section. For part of this past year, Peter was on leave from Simon Fraser University, visiting the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. We are indebted to both Simon Fraser University and the University of Canterbury for the support they have provided Peter in his activities on behalf of the JEE.

Peter and his referees invest a great amount of time working with authors to get papers into 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, last year Bob Highsmith, then National Council on Economic Education 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 were presented at the ASSA meetings in January 1995 and are expected to appear in the JEE within the next year.

We continue to be concerned about the flow of papers to the research section, although as shown in Table 3, in 1995 there have been 28 papers submitted, which is slightly above the average yearly submission count for the past three years. Of the papers submitted in 1995, none have yet been recommended for publication. Peter's three-year average acceptance rate of 19.51 percent is relatively low but most appropriate for the quality level Peter is advancing.

The proportion of pages going to the research section was 14.1 percent in 1995 (Table 1), a decrease from the 22 percent in 1994, but still consistent with past proportions: 12.8 percent in 1993, 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.

At Peter's urging, effective in 1996 the official JEE policy is that authors will be expected to make their data available to those who request it from them after the publication of the article. Appearing for the first time in JEE documents will be a notice to that effect.

Finally, we must congratulate Peter for receipt of the Henry H. Villard Research Award in Economic Education, presented by the National Association of Economic Educators and the National Council on Economic Education this October in Dallas, Texas. Peter joins other JEE editors Bill Becker, Bill Walstad, and Mike Watts as past recipients of this award.

Content

The content section contains articles that address contemporary issues, new ideas, and research findings in economics that may influence or can be incorporated into the teaching of economics. Hirschel Kasper, Professor of Economics at Oberlin College, is associate editor of the content section. He has held this position since 1986 and has been most successful in attracting articles from eminent economists. We express our thanks to Hirschel and to Oberlin College for the support it has provided the JEE over the past nine years that Hirsch has been an associate editor.

This year, 25 manuscripts were submitted to the content section. This is a decrease from the past three-year average of 33 papers per year (Table 3). None of the articles submitted this year has been accepted. Only 19.28 percent of the manuscripts submitted since January 1, 1993, have been accepted for publication -- an appropriate but relatively low acceptance rate.

The content section accounted for 12.2 percent of the pages in 1995 (Table 1), which is within the range of past page proportions going to this section: 26.1 percent in 1994, 12.3 percent in 1993, 7.2 percent in 1992, 14.6 percent in 1991, 15 percent in 1990, 19.6 percent in 1989, and 23.9 percent in 1988.

Instruction

The instruction section includes articles, notes, and communications describing innovations in pedagogy, hardware, materials, and methods for teaching traditional subject matter. Michael Watts, Professor of Economics at Purdue University, is associate editor of the instruction section. Thanks are due to Mike as well as to the Krannert School of Management, under the deanship of Dennis Weidenaar (a past JEE associate editor) for the support it has been providing.

In 1995, 34.5 percent of the published pages went to the instruction section. This was an increase from last year, but within the historic limits for this proportion: 17.2 percent in 1988, 25.4 percent in 1989, 24 percent in 1990, 21.1 percent in 1991, 20.4 percent in 1992, 46.25 percent in 1993, and 21.7 percent in 1994.

This year, 32 manuscripts were submitted in the instruction section, of which a decision was made on 10, with 7 of those accepted for publication (Table 3). This high acceptance rate is associated with manuscripts invited for the spring 1996 issue on the teaching of macroeconomics at the intermediate level. Over the three-year period, 32.67 percent of the articles have been accepted for publication in the instruction section. This relatively high acceptance rate reflects the success we have had in inviting and packaging groups of papers that address topical issues.

Features and Information

In the features and information section, we publish survey results, international and institutional comparisons, and analytical studies on the economics curriculum, instructional materials, practices in teaching, and academic economics. William Walstad, Professor of Economics at the University of Nebraska, is the associate editor of the features and information section. Bill and the entire group associated with the Nebraska Council on Economic Education have done much to advance economic education in the United States and internationally as well. This year, Bill deserves special recognition for his work as codirector of the "International Conference On New Developments in Secondary Economics and Business Education," held in Liverpool, England, in April 1995.

Bill and the other associate editors are working hard to increase the visibility of the JEE, and there are many signs of success. For example, The Teaching Professor identified Susan Feiner's review of 16 introductory economics textbooks, which was published in the information section in 1993, as "the kind of rigorous empirical assessment that could profitably be undertaken in many fields"(January 1995, p. 6). As stated earlier in this annual report, the case for the leadership position of the JEE is compelling, and articles published in the features and information section have added greatly to that case.

The features and information section makes up a sizable portion of the pages in the JEE, with 29.4 percent of the page count in 1995. 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 20 papers submitted this year, of which 13 are still in review. The long-term acceptance rate of this new section, when combined with the qualitative and information section it replaced, is 24.44 percent, which is a respectable rate and in keeping with the mission of the JEE.

Qualitative Studies

The qualitative studies section was established to publish studies that among other things used direct observation in analyzing the teaching and learning of economics. The origin of this section can be traced to 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 its involvement with the JEE.

Unfortunately, the qualitative section has not attracted the quantity of high-quality papers we expected following the publication of Myra's lead article. Thus, we had planned to close the qualitative studies section this year, because of lack of submissions. But given the emphasis now being placed on this type of analysis by education researchers, we decided to have another go at it. As part of that effort, Myra Strober made a presentation on this subject at the International Association for Feminist Economics meetings in Tours and got an encouraging response. She is contacting some of the scholars who were at the IAFFE meetings to see what might be appropriate for the JEE. She is more optimistic than ever before about getting some good articles and is thus planning a mini-symposium on qualitative studies for publication in the JEE.

Special Topics and Projects

The JEE engages in special projects. Especially noteworthy is the introduction of the JEE World Wide Web home page, which can be accessed at "http://www.indiana.edu/~econed/index.html"

This JEE URL provides the tables of contents, abstracts, and author information on past and future issues. In addition to TOC information, the JEE Web site contains the last six years of annual reports. Web users can search this information via keyword entries in the JEE search engine or by scrolling. We are indebted to Todd Swarthout, now in the economics Ph.D. program at the University of Arizona, for providing the technical expertise to make the JEE Web site operational.

In April, the JEE joined the internet with its Web site. By the end of May, the JEE Web site was listed on the journal ranking service at "http://www.hkkk.fi/~tormaleh/journals.html" where it was one of a handful of journals receiving a "star" rating. In the month of May, there were 78 accesses to the JEE site. By August and September, the number of hits on the JEE home page had climbed to 342 and 445, respectively. In October, there were 802 hits on the JEE home page. Although the exact meaning or intent of "a hit" is not known, the growth in this measure of usage is encouraging.

In time, we plan to offer Web users additional services through the JEE home page, but at this time the nature of those services, method of delivery, and means of payment are under scrutiny. Editor Bill Becker has been in communication with the pathbreakers in the use of the Internet in the teaching of economics (Bob Parks, Washington University of St. Louis; Kim Sosin, University of Nebraska - Omaha; and Hal Varian, University of California - Berkeley) about the new directions that the JEE should take, but there are no firm plans at this time.

On a more traditional note, the JEE is continuing to devote sections and entire issues to special topics. Several such issues are planned. As already stated in the discussion of the instruction section, a topical issue is scheduled for spring 1996 that will feature papers presented at the Miami University of Ohio conference on the teaching of intermediate macroeconomics. Michael Salemi, JEE board member and Professor of Economics at the University of North Carolina, is working with a group of researchers on studies of enrollments and majors in economics. These papers will be presented at the AEA meetings in San Francisco in January and likely will be published in either the research or the features and information section of the JEE next year.

This year also marks 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, those submitting statements must provide a full citation to the original source along with a photocopy of the page on which the quote appears. In the Winter issue, Phillip Saunders, Indiana University - Bloomington, shared some of his favorite quotes, with other contributions coming from Jurgen Brauer, Augusta College, and George A. Chressanthis, Mississippi State University.

JEE board member William Baumol and editor William Becker have also just completed 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, contributed chapters for that volume. This work was supported by a grant from the Russell Sage Foundation. Camera-ready manuscript production was completed at the JEE editorial office at Indiana University. The finished volume has been published by the MIT Press as a 1996 release.

Finally, Mike Watts and Bill Becker have been active this year finalizing a paper on methods employed in the teaching of postsecondary economics and in conducting a national survey of 3,047 instructors of economics to obtain information on their classroom activities. The survey results from 625 respondents were presented at the 1995 Southern Economic Association meetings and the 24th Conference of Economists in Australia. The results also will be presented at the American Economic Association meetings in San Francisco in January 1996. It is expected that the visibility brought to the importance of alternative teaching and learning activities in college and university economics courses will lead to additional submissions to the JEE.

Editorial Board

This year, newly appointed National Council on Economic Education President Robert Duvall accepted an appointment to the JEE editorial board. Also joining Robert Duvall this year on the JEE editorial board was Michael Salemi. Michael Salemi came onto the JEE editorial board as the newly appointed Chairman of the AEA Committee on Economic Education. Michael's interest in economic education dates back to the 1970s, when in the summer of 1973 he was a University of Minnesota representative to the first AEA/NCEE teacher training program held at Indiana University.

For 1996, we are pleased to announce that John Pencavel, Professor of Economics at Stanford University, will be joining the JEE editorial board. As noted in several places in this report, as well as in those of previous years, John has been both a contributor and long-time supporter of the Journal of Economic Education. He is committed to the teaching of economics.

Stepping off the JEE board this year is Stephen Buckles. As past president of the National Council on Economic Education, it was Steve Buckles, along with then NCEE program director Robert Highsmith, who ensured the financial support of the JEE by the NCEE. In addition, as an academic economist, Dr. Buckles contributed directly to the JEE through his reviewing and refereeing of manuscripts and contribution of articles. Like Michael Salemi, Steve's involvement with the JEE dates back to the early 1970s, so we expect that Steve will continue to contribute to the JEE in his new appointment at Vanderbilt University. Also coming off the board is Professor Eric Hanushek, University of Rochester. Rick has served on the JEE board since 1991 and has contributed through his refereeing of articles and advice to the JEE editors. We thank both Steve and Rick for their assistance to the JEE.

Editorial Matters

The reviews, comments, and suggestions provided by the associate editors and referees on papers that they believe have promise for JEE readers are essential in the selection process. Less-dedicated editors and reviewers would reject many of the papers that have benefited from their advice. Nonetheless, as stated by JEE editorial board member Rebecca Blank in her AER (December 1991) article, the JEE and the other journals that use double-blind systems for reviewing do have lower acceptance rates and more critical referee reports than single-blind journals.

Table 4 lists the names and institutional affiliations of the 250 referees used in 1995. The economic education community must express its deep appreciation for their assistance to the JEE. As has been the practice for the past two years, Heldref Publications now expresses 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 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.

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 (Table 3). Potential authors have learned that they must wait a year or more before seeing their accepted manuscripts in print (Table 5). The review and revision processes leading to acceptance also can take in excess of a year.

Following a suggestion made at the 1994 annual meeting of the American Economic Association's Committee on Economic Education, this year we are reporting the time from submission to the first contact an author has with an associate editor regarding possible revision. As can be seen in Table 5, this time is not excessive and is typically well within three months. Delays in publication appear to be associated with the subsequent time for rewriting, reviewing, editing, and the length of the queue of accepted manuscripts waiting to be published. Although this time to publication is not unusual for 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 master's degree from the University of Minnesota, and she has been editing manuscripts in economics and econometrics for well over twenty years.

The electronic word processing, data management, and expediting and tracking of manuscripts is handled by Julie Marker at Indiana University. After working with Todd Swarthout in setting up the JEE World Wide Web home page, Julie has assumed full responsibility for maintaining and updating this Web site. She has also converted the JEE data management system from Professional File to Microsoft Access. Julie has proved to be a most effective, efficient, and innovative executive secretary.

At Heldref Publications, Rosalind Springsteen is the JEE Managing Editor. Springsteen holds a master's degree from the University of Michigan in economics and was previously employed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 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.

Heldref Publications has worked the JEE into a positive cash flow position, with 1995 being the first full year in JEE history that Heldref has been able to make a financial commitment to the editorial office at Indiana University. As exemplified by Kluwer Academic Publishers' inquiries into prospects for acquiring the JEE, the JEE has become a desired title within the publishing business. We can only plan for and hope that the JEE will continue to advance on all fronts, including the financial.

Circulation

The last three unnumbered tables at the back of this report contain pricing and circulation data as provided by Heldref Publications. Paid subscriptions in November were 1,481, with 1,488 copies of the fall issue circulated in November. The current level of subscriptions is impressive because prices over the last several years have increased dramatically. Regular individual subscriptions are now priced at $37.50, and institutions must pay $75 for a four-issue subscription. As recently as 1989, individuals paid $23 and institutions paid $45.

The increase in subscriptions in 1994 can be traced to the Teacher Training Program directed by 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. In 1995, these TTP participants were given the opportunity to subscribe individually at the Council and Center Director rate of $35.

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 at the annual meeting of the National Council on Economic Education, which was held this year in Dallas, Texas. This year 64 individual subscriptions were obtained from the NCEE network directors who subscribed at the special rate of $35 per year. These 64 subscriptions are lower than the all-time high of 81 reached in 1993.

To maintain and increase subscriptions, Kerri Kilbane, Promotions Director for Heldref, implemented a major mailing to the GMC mailing lists of college instructors of economics in the first quarter of 1995. It included a newly designed brochure and a cover letter from Bill Becker soliciting subscriptions. Final returns from this promotion are not yet known. As of October, however, 93 new subscriptions had been obtained from this mailing, which is considered a good return.

Closing Comments

The support of the JEE by the National Council on Economic Education is continuing under newly appointed NCEE President and JEE board member Robert Duvall. JEE board member Michael Salemi, Chairman of the Economic Education Committee of the American Economic Association, is likewise playing a key role in bringing the prestige of the American Economic Association to the JEE -- the recognition that Mike gave to the JEE in his 1995 AER proceedings report was especially appreciated.

The Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences Review Committee (David Ransel, George von Furstenberg, and M. Jeanne Peterson) must be thanked for its work that led to the finding "that the JEE is making an important contribution to the economics profession," and recommendation "that its publication and support be continued at Indiana University." Barring any unforseen circumstance, it is safe to assume that this recommendation will be followed by John Wilson, Chair of the Department of Economics at Indiana University, and COAS Dean Morton Lowengrub, both of whom must be thanked for providing their support. 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
January 5, 1996



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