THE JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC EDUCATION
1999 ANNUAL REPORT
The inaugural issue of the Journal of Economic Education appeared in the fall of 1969. At the time, G.L. Bach wrote in the American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings (1971) that 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 30 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 the JEE history and emphasizes activities in 1999. It discusses the accomplishments in the research, content, instruction, features and information, and new online sections. It reviews the editorial matters that shape the future of the JEE.
Two figures and two exhibits provide information on the use of the JEE World Wide Web site. Figure 1 shows the top 20 countries accessing the JEE Web site, and Figure 2 shows the time trend in hits. Exhibit 1 lists the top 50 institutions accessing the JEE Web site. Exhibit 2 identifies the top 50 articles accessed on the JEE Web site. Five tables show the level of JEE activities this year, and provide data to make yearly comparisons. The contents of each of the quarterly issues are summarized in Table 1. The mix of authors and their institutional affiliations are presented in Table 2. The number of manuscripts processed and the rates of manuscript acceptance are in Table 3. The lists of referees and the time required to process published papers are in Tables 4 and 5. 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 "scholarship of teaching" is the latest initiative of the Carnegie Foundation to get faculty members to think about their teaching (Pat Hutchings and Lee Shulman, "The Scholarship of Teaching," Change, October 1999: 11-15). The vision is to have academics combine the latest ideas in their fields with current ideas about teaching and learning in a way that is made public, open to critique and evaluation, and in a form on which others can build. Thirty years ago the National Council on Economic Education (NCEE, then called the Joint Council on Economic Education, JCEE) and the American Economic Association's Committee on Economic Education (AEACEE) already had this vision when they cooperatively initiated the JEE as a publication devoted to the sharing of ideas about the teaching of economics in a double blind, peer viewed, biannual journal that emphasized research on the teaching and learning of economics at the tertiary level.
In the early days, the NCEE oversaw publication of the JEE, and the AEACEE 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 AEACEE, however, the NCEE retained responsibility for appointing the editor. The NCEE also continued to accept responsibility for providing financial support to the editorial office, with a substantial increase in that support in 1999.
In 1983, the JEE became a quarterly, when Donald Paden (University of Illinois) was editor, and increased in page count under the editorship of Kalman Goldberg (Bradley University). The editorial offices moved to Indiana University in 1989, when William Becker became editor. Today there are six institutions of higher education that house and support the editor and five associate editors in economics departments at Indiana University, Oberlin College, Purdue University, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and at Omaha. The JEE has grown into a team and multi-institutional effort. As outlined in this report, the editor and associate editors are jointly involved in article review, selection, and scheduling.
One of the problems confronting the scholarship of teaching, according to Hutchings and Shulman, is that discipline-based inquiry into teaching will not have credibility within the discipline. The 1995 JEE annual report addressed this issue. Acceptability of scholarship on the teaching of economics and the prestige of the JEE have increased greatly over the past 30 years, although there are still many uninformed department members, chairs, and even some deans to reach.
In the 1990s, the JEE picked up major signs of recognition within the discipline of economics. For instance, past JEE editorial board member Rebecca Blank, in an American Economic Review (December 1991) article on the effects of double-blind versus single-blind reviewing, identified the JEE and only 37 other journals as central to economics. David Laband and Michael Piette, in a Journal of Economic Literature (June 1994) article, showed 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 10 years the JEE moved from little better than the median to the top 21 percent.
Articles published in the JEE define what we know about the teaching and learning of economics. For example, JEE Editor William Becker's Journal of Economic Literature (September 1997) article on teaching economics at the college level has 82 references, of which 65 are to academic journals. The Journal of Economic Education received the most citations, with 28, followed by the American Economic Review, with 10. In JEE associate editor William Walstad's JEL (December 1992) article on the teaching of economics in high schools, there are 141 references, of which 78 are to academic journals, with the JEE receiving the most citations, with 38, followed by the American Economic Review, with 16.
The quality of articles published in the JEE is also evident when compared to and as cited in the general education literature. This year, for example, Donna M. Kish-Goodling's JEE article "Using The Merchant of Venice in Teaching Monetary Economics" (Fall 1998, pp. 330-39) was reprinted in entirety (with permission) in College Teaching (Spring 1999, pp. 64-70). Articles published in the JEE are indexed, abstracted, scanned or listed in all the major electronic literature search engines and library print sources, which include among others: the Social Science Citation Index, Current Contents, Education Index, Business Education Index, Content Papers in Education, International Bibliography of Book Reviews, International Bibliography of Periodical Literature, PAIS Bulletin, Social Studies/Social Science Education (ERIC), and Research Alert.
As important as abstracts, indexes, reprints, and citations are to assessing the centrality and quality of a journal, the advent of the Internet may alter the way we assess international journal influence. In 1995, the JEE was the first of the major journals in economics to offer a fully functioning Web site. The count of the top 20 countries whose scholars "hit" or accessed the JEE site between January 1, 1999, and November 1, 1999, is shown in Figure 1. Although the exact meaning or intent of a hit is unknown, scholars from some 112 countries are accessing the JEE URL each month. The number of users hitting or accessing the contents on the JEE Web site has increased exponentially, from 553 per month in April 1995 to 34,857 per month in October 1999, as seen in Figure 2; even taking the growth of the Internet into account, this is a substantial rise.
There are signs that the JEE is having a direct influence within a broad range of departments of economics. For example, the top 50 institutions whose members have been hitting the JEE pages are shown in Exhibit 1. The top ranked universities and prestigious colleges are now requiring documentation of teaching scholarship. The number of well-known economists submitting articles to the JEE has increased, with recent articles by John Bishop, David Colander, William Greene, Alan Krueger, Cecilia Rouse, and W. Kip Viscusi to name a few.
The scholarship of teaching and learning of economics is not being ignored, and by any measure, the JEE is receiving recognition for what is published in its five sections: research, content, instruction, features and information, and online. The JEE has become the forum for scholarly inquiries in economic education --- the goal of its founders 30 years ago.
Peter Kennedy directs the research section; he is a professor of economics at Simon Fraser University. In addition to being indebted to Peter for his care and patience in reviewing manuscripts and assisting authors, the JEE expresses its thanks to Simon Fraser University for the resources it has provided to the JEE over the past 10 years that Peter Kennedy has been an associate editor.
The JEE goal for the research section is to publish original theoretical and empirical studies that deal with the analysis and evaluation of teaching and learning methods and materials. Articles involving statistical inference are published in the research section if they deal with the educational process. Peter Kennedy also works with potential authors of inferential studies that might appear in one of the other sections that deal with other features of the education industry. This year, for example, Peter invested a lot of time on articles dealing with admission to graduate school in economics and the job market for new Ph.D.'s in economics that will appear in the features and information section in 2000.
In 1999, 30 manuscripts were submitted to the research section. Of these 30 manuscripts, Peter recommended none for publication. However, Peter did recommended 2 articles for publication that had been submitted in previous years. Peter's three-year acceptance rate is only 9.5 percent.
The proportion of pages going to the research section was 11.6 percent in 1999 (Table 1), which is a slight increase from the 9.8 percent in 1998, a decrease from the 31.5 percent in 1997, and only slightly below the 12.4 percent in 1996. The high level in 1997 was associated with a topical spring issue.
Michael Watts, professor of economics at Purdue University, is associate editor of the instruction section. In the instruction section, the JEE publishes articles, notes, and communications describing innovations in pedagogy, hardware, materials, and methods for teaching traditional subject matter. Thanks are due to Mike and those with whom he works at the Krannert School of Management. Since the early days of economic education, Purdue University has maintained a leadership position in economic education.
Mike Watts has been devoting his attention to the JEE since 1988. Mike recommended a total of 14 articles for publication in 1999 (Table 3). None of the 39 articles submitted this year have been accepted for publication; 13 of these articles are still under consideration, and 26 have been rejected. Over the three-year period, 35.9 percent of the articles have been accepted for publication in the instruction section. In part this relatively high acceptance rate is associated with invited manuscripts that address special topical issues.
The instruction section has been the largest section in the JEE for several years, although the number of pages fluctuates - 62 percent in 1999, 49 percent in 1998, 18.4 percent in 1997, 37.1 percent in 1996, and 34.3 percent in 1995 (Table 1). Topical issues account for much of this variation, as seen this year with the National Science Foundation - University of Pittsburgh technology conference published in the instruction section. The JEE editorial staff and board works with individual institutions in the planning and conducting of conferences on the scholarship of teaching that have the potential to generate articles. On November 6, 1999, for example, board member David Colander sponsored a conference at Middlebury College on the use of Monte Carlo in the teaching of econometrics. The three papers presented there, along with the discussant comments, will be considered for possible publication in the instruction section.
Hirschel Kasper, professor of economics at Oberlin College, is associate editor of the content section. In the content section, the JEE strives to publish articles that address contemporary issues, new ideas, and research findings in economics that may influence or can be incorporated into the teaching of economics. We express our thanks to Hirschel and to Oberlin College for the support it has provided the JEE over the past 13 years that Hirsch has been an associate editor.
Hirsch does an excellent job of securing articles from well-known economists on timely issues. This year, for example, a series of articles by Howard McGraw Jr., William Nordhaus, Orley Ashenfelter, Robert Solow, and Stanley Fischer was devoted to Paul Samuelson's 50 years of authoring Economics, with an article by Samuelson published as well.
In 1999, Hirschel Kasper recommended a total of 16 manuscripts for publication. Of the 37 new manuscripts submitted for the content section this year, 16 were rejected, 6 accepted, and 15 are still in review (Table 3). Over the past three years, the acceptance rate in the content section has been 27.5 percent. As with the other sections, the number of pages published in the content section varies from year to year - 12.5 percent of the pages published in 1999, 7.9 percent in 1998, 12.6 percent of the pages published in 1997, 19.1 percent in 1996, and 12.2 percent in 1995.
Features and Information
William Walstad, professor of economics at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, is the associate editor of the features and information section. In addition to his duties with the JEE, in 2000 Bill will assume the duties of the Chair of the American Economic Association's Committee on Economic Education, becoming the first dedicated economic educator to head that committee. He succeeds JEE board member Mike Salemi in this leadership position.
Bill has helped the Nebraska Council on Economic Education and the University of Nebraska system move to the front of the economic education movement. The fact that the JEE has two associate editors (Bill Walstad and Kim Sosin) from Nebraska speaks to this success and the JEE's indebtedness to the Nebraska team of economic educators.
The features and information section contains articles that provide survey results, international and institutional comparisons, and descriptive studies on the economics curriculum, instructional materials, and educational practices. For example, forthcoming in this section in 2000 are articles reporting on survey data about graduate education in economics. The first of these articles by Alan Krueger and Stephen Wu will appear in the Winter issue.
Also looking to the future, the JEE is cooperating with the University of Melbourne, the University of South Australia, and the University of Adelaide in sponsorship of an international conference on the scholarship of teaching and learning of economics to be held in Melbourne on July 13 and 14, 2000. The proceedings of this conference are expected to appear in the features and information section in 2001.
The features and information section made up only 5.7 percent of the JEE page count in 1999, which compares to its 18.8 percent in 1998, 24.0 percent in 1997, 20.6 percent in 1996, and 29.4 percent in 1995. This year, there were 16 manuscripts submitted for review in the features and information section, of which 6 are still in review (Table 3). The long-term acceptance rate of this section is 22.4 percent.
As already mentioned, the Journal of Economic Education and the University of Pittsburgh conducted a conference on the use of technology in the teaching of economics in 1998, with the support of the National Science Foundation and the National Council on Economic Education, and the endorsement of the American Economic Association Committee on Economic Education. The proceedings of the conference were edited by Bill Becker and Arnold Katz, which was published in an expanded issue of the JEE (Summer 1999). In addition, a new "online section" was initiated, with Kim Sosin as its associate editor. Kim is professor and chair of the Department of Economics, University of Nebraska at Omaha.
The first material to appear under this online section banner is scheduled for the Winter 2000 issue, although the features are already available on the JEE World Wide Web site at http://www.indiana.edu/~econed/index.html
The online section is designed to identify exemplary uses of technology for economic instruction. Materials submitted to the JEE for review in this new section are expected to be interactive or otherwise not conducive to the traditional printed-page format. As seen by the sites already available on the JEE Web page, only the highest quality materials receive the JEE imprimatur. These materials are housed and available for Web viewing as finished documents on the submitter's Web site for a fixed period of time. Short descriptions and Web URLs of accepted Web materials will appear in the regular issues of the JEE.
Helping Kim in her first year of work on the online section have been Michelle Mason Winston, director of Technology Program Development for the National Council on Economic Education, and George Bredon, Senior Lecturer at the University of South Australia. Together they have recommended the acceptance of 8 of the 13 submitted pieces.
In the spring of 1999, Cecilia Rouse joined the editorial board. She had been on leave from Princeton University as a Special Assistant to the President of the United States at the National Economic Council. Cecilia is now back at Princeton University where she is an associate professor of economics and public affairs. She has contributed to economic education both as a teacher and researcher. Her article "The Underrepresentation of Women in Economics: A Study of Undergraduate Economics Students," with Karen Dynan, appeared in the Fall 1997 issue of the JEE.
In early 1995, the Journal of Economic Education was first among the major journals in economics to offer a fully operational Web site. On the JEE home pages, Web users find the tables of contents, abstracts, and author information on past and future issues. In addition to abstracts for articles published between 1984 and the present, they also find the abstracts of manuscripts recently accepted for publication. The JEE Web site also contains the last 10 years of annual reports, information on subscribing, and submission details that include the style guide. This year we added the online section. Web users can search this information via keyword entries in the search engine or by scrolling.
Following a feasibility study and a meeting with the Heldref staff in 1998, Heldref approved placement of the actual articles published in the journal on the JEE WWW site at Indiana University. On October 15, 1999, in a follow-up meeting, the availability of this material without charge to users was reconfirmed for the foreseeable future. All four issues for 1999 are on the JEE Web page as pdf files that can be read through the Adobe Acrobat Reader. The most often accessed abstracts and pdf articles (identified in parentheses) are shown in Exhibit 2.
In addition to the extensive reviews provided by the associate editors, 242 scholars (Table 4) were involved in the referee process of papers for which a final publication decision was made between October 11, 1998, and October 10, 1999. Referees may be asked multiple times to look at a manuscript revision but they are only recognized once in the winter issue following the year in which a paper was either accepted or rejected. All of economic education is in the debt of those who voluntarily serve as referees.
The refereeing process associated with the selection of articles for publication in the JEE is time consuming. As seen in Table 5, however, the time from submission to the first contact an associate editor has with an author about possible revision is not excessive. It is typically well within three months. Authors of accepted articles typically must wait a year or more before seeing their accepted manuscripts in print. 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. This time to publication is not unusual for top-quality journals, as seen for example in an article in Chance [Winter 1998, 11(1): 42-45] on publication delays, but it is a source of concern.
As reflected in the growing number of manuscripts awaiting publication, we have an excess of quality articles for our four issues. The backlog of manuscripts that has built over the past several years made a compelling case for adding pages to the 96-page article space limit per issue. Effective with the Fall 1999 issue our regular article page limit increased by 8 pages per issue. In this era of rising publication cost, this page increase reflects the major commitment Heldref Publications is making to the JEE.
Heldref Publications now makes the JEE available in forms other than hard copy. Readers can find the JEE through several different services in the following ways:
1. EBSCO, in the form of CD_ROM, microfilm, and online.
2. Bell and Howell, International in the form of microfilm, microfiche and online.
3. Gale Group, Northern Lights in the form of CD-ROM, microfilm, and online.
4. Institute for Scientific Information, in the form of photocopy, facsimile, and electronic.
5. Infonautics, in the online form of the Electronic Library and Homework Helper.
Tom Kelly, director of advertising and new media, and Margaret Buckley, multimedia manager, note that unlike the JEE Web site at Indiana University, and Heldref's own Web page, users accessing the JEE in one of the above five forms must pay for the service. For example, EBSCO is available only to subscribers (1-800-653-2726). Nevertheless, Heldref reports that between August 1998 and August 1999 there was a 32 percent increase in issues obtained through these external sources. The free availability of individual articles in the pdf format on the JEE Web site at Indiana University apparently has not hurt sales of the full issues of the JEE through other distribution sources, and (as argued in Carl Shapiro and Hal Varian in Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy) may have helped make individuals aware of the JEE and fostered sales. For these reasons, as confirmed at an October 15, 1999, meeting with Heldref administrators, articles will continue to be available without charge on Indiana's JEE Web site.
The data management system is critical in manuscript tracking. Since early 1994, Julie Marker has handled these functions along with the electronic word processing at Indiana University. More important still for the new directions the JEE took on the Internet, Julie accepted full responsibility for maintaining and updating the JEE Web site. This fall Julie accepted a new position with Tichenor College Textbook Company as Supervisor of Book Emporium, with her resignation from the JEE taking effect at the end of October. We wish Julie the best in her new position. She will be missed by the editors and contributors who have learned to rely on her.
Elaine Yarde will be returning to the JEE on a temporary basis until a new regular executive secretary is hired. Elaine was the executive secretary of the JEE between 1989 and 1994; at present she is the administrative assistant in the Department of Geography at Indiana University. Elaine and Julie will be working together to ensure that all functions continue on schedule until the position is filled.
Suzanne Becker is continuing to assist Bill Becker in the editing function at Indiana University. Sue has a master's degree from the University of Minnesota, and she has been editing manuscripts in economics and econometrics for over 25 years, and with the JEE since 1989. The authors of each of the 62 articles, notes and reviews published in 1999 have benefited from Sue's eye for detail and editorial forte.
At Heldref Publications, Rosalind Springsteen is the JEE Managing Editor. She holds a master's degree from the University of Michigan in economics and was previously employed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Rosalind Springsteen, together with the Heldref staff, ensures that the final JEE product is of the highest quality and in readers' hands in the season designated on the issue's cover.
Data on pricing, subscriptions, and the circulation of the JEE are provided by Fred Huber, Circulation Director at Heldref, in the three unnumbered tables at the end of this report. Since 1981, Heldref Publications has been fully responsible for these three functions. Regular individual subscriptions to the JEE are priced at $41 per year. The institution rate is $82 for the yearly four issue subscription. In November, paid subscriptions were 1,211, with 1,177 copies of the fall issue circulated. (The peak circulation in 1995 reflected a promotional effort aimed at participants in the AEA/NCEE teacher training program.) Over the past several years, other periodicals devoted to economic education and the economics of education have entered the market. In addition, expanding free use of the JEE World Wide Web services as well as those coming on line through other Web servers may be cutting into hard copy subscriptions. These market changes must be watched closely, and the editors and staff at Heldref Publications must be poised to respond.
Heldref's subscription data do not yet reflect the 1999 changes in Council and Center Directors' subscriptions. These subscriptions are obtained as part of the registration process at the annual meeting of the National Council on Economic Education, which was held this year in Boise, Idaho. This year 59 individual subscriptions were obtained from the NCEE network directors who subscribed at the special rate of $35 per year versus the regular yearly price of $41.
Heldref has worked the JEE into a positive cash-flow position. Since 1995, it has provided a financial grant to the editorial office at Indiana University. We have every reason to expect that the JEE's usefulness to economists and educators will continue to increase as we move more and more toward alternative forms of publishing and circulation. The financial and academic backbones of the JEE appear secure.
The support of the JEE by the National Council on Economic Education is ensured by NCEE President and JEE board member Robert Duvall. As noted earlier in this report, that support dates back to the founding of the JEE in 1969. JEE board member Michael Salemi, current Chairman of the Economic Education Committee of the American Economic Association, has also ensured that the American Economic Association continues to bring its prestige to the JEE.
As Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University, Morton Lowengrub maintained the support of IU's COAS from 1989 (when long-time economic educator Phillip Saunders, then Chair of IU's department of economics, played a key role in bringing the JEE to Indiana University) to the present. As arranged by Dean Lowengrub in 1995, a COAS Review Committee (David Ransel, George von Furstenberg, and M. Jeanne Peterson) reported "that the JEE is making an important contribution to the economics profession" and recommended "that its publication and support be continued at Indiana University." Dr. Lowengrub retired from IU this year. We express our deep appreciation to Mort for his years of support, and we wish him the best in his new position as Vice-President for Academic Affairs at Yeshiva University. Like Dean Lowengrub, Acting COAS Dean Russ Hanson has expressed his commitment to the JEE, which is needed and greatly appreciated. In addition, this year Acting Dean of Faculties Moya Andrews also must be thanked for providing assistance to the JEE as part of IU's scholarship of teaching and learning initiative.
Finally, George Bredon, Geoff Page, and Kevin O'Brien of the University of South Australia deserve recognition for the support they provided the JEE during Bill Becker's residency at UniSA in June through August 1999. The involvement of all these individuals and organizations is essential to the continuing success of the Journal of Economic Education.
William E. Becker
December 1, 1999
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