Economic Journal — Editors’ Annual Report, 2019

21 Apr 2020


Submissions and impact

• In 2019, the Journal received 1,722 submissions (compared with 1,770 in 2018). Acceptance rates are now just over 5 per cent.1

• The 2018 Impact Factor (released in June 2019) was 2.926, slightly lower than the 2017 Impact Factor 2.946, its highest ever score.

Turn-around times

• The Journal continues to benefit from a set of dedicated referees and Associate Editors who have continued to deliver high-quality and timely reports: more than 90 per cent of referees submit their reports within 3 months.

• Decision turn-around times are still slower than we would like, essentially due to the volume of submissions received in 2018 and the first 8 months of 2019 and the introduction of pre-acceptance replication checks.

Ethics and research transparency

• New ethics guidelines for authors, reviewers and editors were developed to ensure that publication best practice is upheld throughout the editorial process.

• New replication policies in line with top journals were adopted in July 2019. As a result, the Journal is now one of a handful of journals carrying out replication checks and one in three doing so before acceptance.

• In December 2019, the Journal recruited a Data Editor to uphold and further develop the Journal’s replication policies and coordinate the replication checks.


• The Journal transferred from Wiley to Oxford University Press (OUP) in January 2019. This transition has gone smoothly except for unsatisfactory copy-editing quality. Since November 2019, and in agreement with OUP, an external proof-reading service has been hired to ensure satisfactory service to authors.

• A submission fee was introduced in September 2019 to raise resources to support the Journal’s development and new services to authors. The introduction of the submission fee served to curb the increasing number of submissions (see Figure 1).


• Frederic Vermeulen and Morten Ravn completed their terms as Managing Editors during 2019.

• Francesco Lippi and Ekaterina Zhuravskaya joined the board as Managing Editors in 2019.

• As of 31 December 2019, the Journal had 3 male editors and 5 female editors, a unique position among the leading journals in economics.

• In November 2019, a reorganisation of the editorial team was adopted to redistribute the managerial tasks within the 5 most senior Managing Editors.  Going forward, Gilat Levy will represent the Journal on the RES Executive Committee and RES Publications Committee.

• Joan Lull joined the team as the Journal’s Data Editor in December 2019.

 •The Editorial Office remains at the RES office. Antonia Glanfield acts as the Publications Officer for the Journal.


• The Journal is looking forward to the recruitment of a 9th editor and the hiring of additional staff support in 2020.

• In 2019, the Journal has worked to raise its visibility among US academics through selective marketing campaigns developed with OUP and the recruitment of US-based Editors and Associate Editors. We hope to see the results of these actions in the number of submissions from the US.  

1. Editorial team

1.1. Current Editorial Team

 Joint Managing Editors:

Estelle Cantillon, Université Libre de Bruxelles

Nezih Guner, CEMFI Madrid

Rachel Kranton, Duke University

Gilat Levy, London School of Economics

Francesco Lippi, LUISS University and EIEF

Barbara Petrongolo, Queen Mary University

Hans-Joachim Voth, University of Zurich

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, Paris School of Economics and EHESS

Publications Officer:

Antonia Glanfield, RES (

Data Editor:

Joan Llull, MOVE, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Barcelona GSE

2. Journal Statistics

2.1. Submissions (Tables 1 & 2)

The total number of submissions for 2019 is 1722, just below 1770 received in 2018 (our highest year for submissions). The introduction of pre-acceptance replication checks has meant there is a slight delay to an accept decision being filed by the editors, therefore the acceptance rate for 2019 is 2.4 per cent. However, we anticipate that the conditionally accepted papers will be accepted following the appropriate checks. Accounting for this, the acceptance rate for 2019 is 5.23 per cent.

The rate of desk rejection is stable at 54 per cent.

The geographic distribution (Table 2) is similar to that of last year, with the largest share coming from Europe (37 per cent again). 24 per cent of submissions came from the USA and Canada, which is the same as in 2018. UK submissions were slightly lower than previous years, with a 15 per cent share of all submissions, compared with 17 per cent in 2017 and 2018.

2.2. Editorial Processing Time (Tables 3-5)

Table 3 in the full report provides statistics on turn-around times for submitted papers. Whilst the proportion of papers dealt with within 3 and 4 months remains constant, there has been an increase in the proportion of papers taking more than 6 months. Table 4 (in the full report) shows that referees are returning their reports promptly, therefore the delay is mainly due to delayed decisions filed by the editors. The editors are working hard to reduce the amount of delayed decisions. Desk rejected papers are not sent for review, therefore the turn-around times for these papers remain low.

Table 5 (in the full report) shows the number of new submissions handled by each Managing Editor and the number of resubmitted revisions (as shown by the +). Each editor handles around 200 papers per year.

2.3. Rankings and Impact Factors

Table 6 shows the Economic Journal’s Impact Factors, compared with those of its closest competitors. The Journal’s 2018 Impact Factor decreased slightly from its highest ever score (going from 2.946 to 2.926). This compares with an Impact Factor of 3.636 for the Review of Economics and Statistics, 3.296 for JEEA and 4.767 for the Review of Economic Studies. Crucially, analysis done on September 2019 had shown that the right tail at EJ has been improving strongly in recent years. For papers published after 2014, EJ performs better than JEEA on the h-index and on the citations collected by the top 10 papers.

The EJ ranked 52/363 in the Economics ISI subject category, compared with last year’s ranking of 42/353.

The Journal performs well on alternative measures of impact. Altmetric scores measure the online attention published articles receive through various media sources. Table 7 (in the full report) details the sources of these mentions.  The top 10 Altmetric scoring EJ articles are listed in the appendix to the report.

2.3.1. Social media

The Journal’s Twitter page which is used to promote Journal articles, news and engage with the community, currently has over 9,000+ followers (9,040 as of 30.1.2020). In 2019 the Journal experienced an increase of 1,859 followers, generated 515.2K impressions, received 637 retweets and 1,059 likes.

3. Prizes

3.1. Austin Robinson Memorial Prize

The Austin Robinson Memorial Prize is awarded to the best paper published in the Journal in a given year by an author (or multiple authors) who is (or are) within 5 years of receiving his or her (or their) PhD. The winning paper is selected by the Managing Editors.

The 2018 Austin Robinson Memorial Prize was awarded to Isabel Cairó and Tomaz Cajner for their article ‘Human Capital and Unemployment Dynamics: Why More-Educated Workers Enjoy Greater Employment Stability.’ The 2019 Austin Robinson Memorial Prize was awarded to Evelina Gavrilova, Takuma Kamada and Floris Zoutman for their article ‘Is Legal Pot Crippling Mexican Drug Trafficking Organisations? The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on US Crime’. 

3.2. RES Prize

The Royal Economic Society Prize is awarded to the best paper published in the Journal in a given year. It is selected by a committee consisting of the RES President, a Managing Editor of the Journal and another member of the RES council.

The 2018 RES prize was awarded to Dan Cao for his paper ‘Speculation and Financial Wealth Distribution Under Belief Heterogeneity.’ The 2019 RES prize was awarded to Jane Humphries and Jacob Weisdorf for their article ‘Unreal Wages? Real Income and Economic Growth in England, 1260-1850’.

3.3. Referee Prizes

The 2019 winners of the referee prizes were announced in January 2020. These are:

Larbi Alaoui, Universitat Pompeu Fabra; James Andreoni, University of California, San Diego; Natalie Bau, University of California, Los Angeles; Alessandra Bonfiglioli, Queen Mary University of London; Swati Dhingra, London School of Economics; Thomas Drechsel, University of Maryland; Shaun Hargreaves Heap, King’s College, London; Ruixue Jia, University of California, San Diego; Peter Moffatt, University of East Anglia; Omar Rachedi, Bank of Spain; Fabrice Tourre, Copenhagen Business School; Felipe Valencia Caicedo, University of British Columbia; Pierre-Olivier Weill, University of California, Los Angeles.


1. Acceptance rates based on accepted and conditionally accepted articles in 2019. See section 2.1 for further details.