American Economic Review: Insights

ISSN 2640-205X (Print) | ISSN 2640-2068 (Online)

Editorial Policy

Peer Review Process

All manuscripts submitted to American Economic Review: Insights undergo single-blind peer review—the name of the author is revealed to the referee(s), while the referee(s) remain anonymous to authors. When a manuscript is received, the editor assigns it to a coeditor or to themselves (in the role of coeditor) to oversee the review process and to make a publication decision.

During submission, authors have the opportunity to request one or more specific coeditors to handle their paper. The editor usually follows such requests if they are consistent with the criteria for assigning papers, including field of expertise of the coeditor, equalization of workload, and adherence to conflict-of-interest rules.

Once assigned, papers are handled by the designated coeditor throughout the decision process. The editor and coeditors reserve the right to return manuscripts to authors without referee review. The decision to return a manuscript without review is based on several considerations, including expected probability of meeting the standards of AER: Insights, breadth of topic, and interest to the AER: Insights audience.

First decisions on manuscripts that have been sent to reviewers are either "reject" or "conditional accept." AER: Insights does not have a traditional revise-and-resubmit category.

Conditional acceptance means that AER: Insights expects to publish the paper subject to changes detailed in the coeditor's decision letter. Authors are typically given an 8-week deadline to return the revised manuscript. The conditions may include revisions to exposition, analysis, and/or presentation of results, and they are expected to be achievable without substantial uncertainty. When a conditionally accepted manuscript is resubmitted, the coeditor typically makes a final decision without returning the manuscript to the referees.

At the final stage of the review process, the paper undergoes a check to determine whether it complies with the AEA's Data and Code Availability Policy and Data Legality Policy.  

When papers are accepted and published, the coeditor in charge is identified in the acknowledgement footnote of the article.

Conflicts of Interest

The following conflict-of-interest rules affect the assignment of manuscripts.

  • Coeditors are recused from papers involving current colleagues at the same institution (regardless of department), as well as graduate students at the same institution.
  • Coeditors are recused from papers involving coauthors of current papers or papers published less than two years ago.
  • Coeditors are recused from papers involving untenured students that they advised.
  • Coeditors are recused from papers involving a family member.
  • Coeditors must disclose any other close personal or professional relationship, which, in their opinion, creates a conflict (e.g., coauthor of a current project, former tenured student that the coeditor is still close to, advisee of author, etc.).

It is the responsibility of the coeditor to identify a conflict of interest to the editor. In addition, authors are asked during the submission process whether they are aware of any coeditor who has a conflict. When a conflict is identified, the paper will be assigned to a different coeditor with appropriate procedures for confidentiality of refereeing. 

Papers submitted by a coeditor or the editor are handled by a guest editor employing appropriate confidentiality procedures. The guest editor has full editorial discretion. If the paper is submitted by a coeditor, the editor invites a guest editor. If the paper is submitted by the editor, the coeditors jointly decide on the guest editor. If possible, the guest editor is drawn from former editors or coeditors of AEA journals or from members of the board of editors. The guest editor's name is identified in the acknowledgement footnote of the published article.

Comments and Replies

Comments submitted to AER: Insights should provide a substantial and general-interest contribution beyond what could be known from the original article and other articles in the literature. Comments may be summarily rejected by the editor or the assigned coeditor or sent for review to the author of the original article and likely to other reviewers.

If the author of the original paper submits a Reply, it will be sent to the author of the Comment and generally to other reviewers.  There is no automatic right to Reply.  For the Reply to be accepted for publication, it must provide substantive and material discussion of the issues in question.

It is possible that a Comment or Reply may be judged to be appropriate for online posting only.

How the Order of Items in the Journal Is Determined 

The order in which papers appear in each issue is determined by the editor in consultation with the coeditors. The paper that appears first (the "lead article") is one that the editor particularly wants to call attention to, based on factors such as the importance of the questions it addresses, the quality of analysis, the innovation over the literature, and the clarity of presentation. The order of the subsequent articles generally follows the order in which the articles were accepted, though sometimes there are deviations, for example to group two related articles together. Any comments and replies are printed after regular articles.

Disclosure Policy

When submitting papers for peer review, all authors must provide disclosure statements identifying potential conflicts of interest. If authors have nothing to disclose, they are obligated to submit a statement explicitly stating this. Disclosure statements should also disclose whether IRB approval was obtained for the project, and if not, state the reason(s). For published papers, a brief summary of potential conflicts of interest should appear in the acknowledgement footnote. The entire disclosure statement is posted with the paper on the journal's website. View the full Disclosure Policy.

Use of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence software, such as chatbots or other large language models, may not be listed as an author. If artificial intelligence software was used in the preparation of the manuscript, including drafting or editing text, this must be briefly described during the submission process, which will help us understand how authors are or are not using chatbots or other forms of artificial intelligence. Authors are solely accountable for, and must thoroughly fact-check, outputs created with the help of artificial intelligence software.  

Data Legality Policy

All data used in papers published in journals of the American Economic Association should be legally acquired. The coeditor in charge may reject the paper if some or all of the data were not legally obtained. View the full Data Legality Policy (effective July 2023).

Data and Code Availability Policy

It is the policy of the American Economic Association to publish papers only if the data and code used in the analysis are clearly and precisely documented and access to the data and code is nonexclusive to the authors.

Authors of accepted papers that contain empirical work, simulations, or experimental work must provide, prior to acceptance, information about the data, programs, and other details of the computations sufficient to permit replication, as well as information about access to data and programs. View the full Data and Code Availability Policy.

RCT Registration Policy

It is the policy of the AEA journals that all work involving field experiments must be registered with the AEA RCT Registry prior to submission for publication.