The Econometrics Journal — Managing Editor’s Annual Report, 2019.

21 Apr 2020

This is an edited version of the full report which is available at https://www.res.org.uk/resources-page/econometrics-journal-editor-s-annual-report.html  The section and table numbers used below are the numbers used in the full report.

The Econometrics Journal was established in 1998 by the Royal Economic Society. It aims to publish high quality research papers relevant to contemporary econometrics in which primary emphasis is placed on important and original contributions of substantive direct or potential value in applications.

 

2. Editorial Board and Office

The editorial process of the Journal is overseen by its Managing Editor and Co-Editors. A Deputy Managing Editor generally supports the Managing Editor and the Co-Editors in the management of the Journal and its strategy and, more specifically, takes the lead in screening new submissions, editing book reviews, checking replication packages, and turning accepted into published papers. An Editorial Office provides administrative support. The Editorial Board is complemented with a large number of first-rate econometricians from around the world who, as Associate Editors, act as ambassadors, advisors, and senior referees of The Econometrics Journal.

2.1. Managing Editor, Co-Editors, and Deputy Managing Editor

We are very happy to report that Petra Todd has joined the Journal as a Co-Editor from 1 March 2019. Petra is the Edmund J and Louise W Kahn Term Professor of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. She has made key contributions to microeconometrics, in particular microeconometric policy evaluation, and empirical microeconomics, with a focus on problems in labor, education, and development economics. Petra filled a vacancy left by John Rust, who resigned from 1 January 2019. There were no changes to the Journal’s other main Editors.

2.2. Associate Editors

Denis Chetverikov (UCLA) joined The Econometrics Journal as an Associate Editor from 1 January 2019. Raffaella Giacomini (University College London) agreed to be appointed Associate Editor from 1 January 2020.The current (February 2020) members of the Editorial Board are listed in Appendix A (of the full report).

2.3. Editorial Office

The Editorial Office is managed by the Research Support Team (RST) of Tilburg University’s School of Economics and Management. Janneke Schrama-Scheepens continued to serve as the main Editorial Assistant and primary Office contact.

In 2019, the Editorial Office has settled on streamlined and automated procedures for all its operations. It has also developed a stable relationship with the Journal’s new publisher, Oxford University Press (OUP) and its production staff. In October 2019, with the help of the head of the RST (Linda van Klink), we reviewed the required personnel inputs and found that efficiency gains allow for a slimmed-down Office from May 2020. Based on this review, RES and Tilburg University have renewed their contract for the Editorial Office from 1 May 2020.

3. Editorial policy

3.1. Submission Guidelines and Review Process

The current editorial policy, which was developed in 2016 for all new submissions from January 2017, aims at the rapid and early dissemination of research in econometrics that is of substantive applied value. We pursue this goal by inviting submissions of shorter and more focused papers that demonstrate their applied value with an empirical illustration and striving to have these submissions

• assigned to an Editor or screen rejected within one week;

• peer reviewed within three months;

• revised quickly, by avoiding multiple and major revisions; and

• published online immediately after acceptance.

To facilitate such quick review and online publication, we require that all submissions follow strict guidelines.

In particular, they need to be typeset in the Journal style using its LaTeX template.

In 2019, we continued to work hard on making this policy a success, so that The Econometrics Journal will be the outlet of choice for econometric research that matters. Section 4’s statistics show that, after a substantial increase in 2018, submissions have been stable in 2019. Moreover, the Editors continue to deliver the fast review that we have promised. Finally, we expect, but cannot yet know from data, that the Journal’s focus on econometrics that matters will increase its impact.

3.2 Replication Policy

The Econometrics Journal systematically checks all replication packages of newly accepted papers for completeness, proper documentation, and functionality. The Deputy Managing Editor manages the replication package checks aided by a pool of expert research assistants, who are all PhD students at Tilburg University. As reported in 4.3, the checks have been handled routinely and smoothly in 2019.

3.3. COPE Guidelines

With its move from Wiley to OUP on 1 January 2019, the Journal has embraced the guidelines:

(https://publicationethics.org/resources/guidelines) of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). In 2019, we started a review of the Journal’s compliance with its guidelines. We intend to finish this review and become a COPE member in 2020.

4. Papers

4.1. Submissions and Acceptances

Table 1 reports the number of new submissions and resubmissions over the past five calendar years.

We focus on submissions in the years with the current editorial policy: 2019, 2018, and 2017. The Editors handled roughly the same number of new submissions in 2019 (131) as in 2018 (132). So, the Journal managed to hold on to the major (80.8 per cent) increase in submissions between 2017 and 2018 (but did not further expand).

 Following the increase in submissions with a delay, the number of accepted papers rebounded from a low of 13 in 2018 to a high of 29 in 2019. This will likely allow the Journal to publish more papers and build a healthy backlog in 2020.

4.2. Review Process       

We continued to use Editorial Express® for the review process. In 2019, the Editors summarily rejected 45.8 per cent (60) of the 131 new submissions that conformed to the guidelines, which is below the shares for 2018 (55.3 per cent) and 2017 (61.6 per cent). If we include the submissions that were desk rejected by the Editorial Office, then the Journal summarily rejected 68.4 per cent (60+94=154) of all (131+94=225) new submissions in 2019. This is below the shares of summary rejections in 2018 (75.2 per cent), 2017 (84.6 per cent), 2016 (77.8 per cent), and 2015 (78.6 per cent).

In 2019, the Journal handled between 90.4 per cent and 97.5 per cent of new submissions within three months. In 2018, this was true for 93.9 per cent to 96.6 per cent and in 2017 for 94.5 per cent to 97.8 per cent of new submissions. This is a major improvement over the corresponding 82.4 per cent and 82.7 per cent in 2016 and 2015.

The differences between 2019 and 2018 are mostly due to smaller percentages of (invariably quick) summary rejections by the Office and the Editors in 2019. Figure 2 plots the cumulative decision time distributions for only those submissions that were sent to referees (and thus excluding summarily rejected papers). These are very similar between 2019 and 2018, despite the differences in Figure 1. Moreover, times to decision have dramatically improved since the period before the introduction of the new editorial policy (2015 and 2016). Well over 80 per cent of decisions that were based on referee input were taken within three months in 2017, 2018, and 2019, against only about 20 per cent in the earlier years.

Figure 3 confirms this message for those new submissions that were summarily rejected. Again, times to decision in 2019, 2018, and 2017 (between 73.3 per cent and 84.4 per cent of decisions within a week) are way better than in 2016 and 2015 (between 6.8 per cent and 11.7 per cent within a week).

It is worth noting that all regular new submissions in 2019 were handled within 105 days. The one decision that took longer (121 days) concerned the first of the two submissions to the Special Issue on ‘Structural Macroeconometrics’.

 Preliminary evidence on resubmissions suggests we mostly avoided major and multiple revisions. We will more systematically investigate this once more data under the new policy will be available.

All in all, the review performance in 2017, 2018, and 2019 has been in line with the current editorial policy, which strives to screen within 7 days, review within three months, and avoid major and multiple revisions. In 2020, we will continue to work towards minimizing unnecessary delays in editorial decisions.

4.4. Production

We were satisfied with the work of and cooperation between all parties involved in the transition from Wiley to OUP. The first issue of 2019 was published with a small delay relative to the new schedule agreed with OUP (the first issue was rescheduled from February to January), but this was a conscious choice for quality and fully coordinated with the Editors. Some minor issues arose in the production of later issues, but these seem to have been incidents that are not indicative of structural problems. In any case, OUP addressed all challenges that came up very well. We used the transition to review and improve the template, style guide, and typesetting. With the help of the company running Editorial Express®, Techno Luddites Inc., we ensured that the storage and forwarding to OUP of all production files for accepted papers is now handled in Editorial Express®.

4.5. Publication

4.5.1. Regular Issues, Special Issues, and Editor's Choices

The Econometrics Journal published three regular issues in 2019, with sixteen regular articles and one comment. In addition, bundled with the January issue, it published a Special Issue on the Econometrics of Games, with an editorial and one article. From 2020 onwards, the Editors select a lead article for each issue, which OUP offers for free online as the ‘Editor's Choice.’ For the 2019 issues, the Editors have selected Editor’s Choices retroactively. The number of articles published in 2019 is a bit below the norm of around 21, following a relative low number of paper acceptances in 2018. As we accepted well above 21 papers in 2019, we published 8 articles in the January issue of 2020 and aim to publish more than 21 papers in 2020 overall.

4.5.2. Virtual Issue on Econometrics of Treatment Effects Published

In November 2019, the Journal published a Virtual Issue on the Econometrics of Treatment Effects. This inaugural Virtual Issue collects new and exciting contributions to the econometrics of treatment effects, including advances in the econometrics of randomised trials and in combining econometrics with machine learning to infer treatment effects from big data.

4.5.3. Special Issue on Econometrics of Games Published

In January 2019, The Econometrics Journal published a Special Issue on Econometrics of Games. This Special Issue reports on the Special Session on Econometrics of Games organised by the previous editor, Richard J Smith, at the Society’s 2017 Conference in Bristol.

4.5.4. Special Issue on Structural Macroeconometrics Edited

Jaap Abbring, with the help of guest Editor Jeffrey Campbell (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Tilburg University), edited a Special Issue on Structural Macroeconometrics, based on the Special Session on Structural Macroeconometrics at the 2018 Annual Conference in Brighton.

4.5.5. Special Issue on Methodology and Applications of Structural Dynamic Models and Machine Learning Edited

John Rust, with the help of guest Editors Fedor Iskhakov (Australian National University) and Bertel Schjerning (University of Copenhagen), edited a Special Issue on Methodology and Applications of Structural Dynamic Models and Machine Learning. This Special Issue follows from the Second Conference on Structural Dynamic Models which was hosted by the Centre for Computational Economics at the University of Copenhagen and supported by the Journal.

4.6 Impact

4.6.1. Most Downloaded Papers in 2019

The papers are listed in the full report.

4.6.2 Bibliometrics

The 2018 Journal Citation Reports® (Clarivate Analytics, 2019) for The Econometrics Journal show that its (two-year) Journal Impact Factor remained near its all-time high of 1.152, at 1.147 in 2018. The Journal’s five-year Impact Factor increased to 1.358 (from 1.163) in 2018 (Figure 5). Its Article Influence Score increased to 1.966 (from 1.789; Figure 6). Finally, the Journal was cited 936 times in 2018, a 10.9 per cent increase over 2017.

The Journal’s current editorial policy aims at promoting econometrics that matters and increasing its influence on the profession. However, it will take some time for this effect to be measured by the Impact Factors. The Impact Factors reported here cover citations of articles published in 2017 and before. Therefore, they do not reflect the impact of the new editorial policy, which only affected submissions from 2017 onwards (which will result in publications from 2018 onwards). The 2019 Impact Factors, which will become available halfway 2020, will be the first that cover publications under the new policy.

5. Prizes

5.1. Presentation of the 2017 Denis Sargan Prize

The Society’s Past President, Andrew Chesher, presented the 2017 Denis Sargan Econometrics Prize to Vincent Boucher (Université Laval) and Ismael Mourifié (University of Toronto) at its 2019 Annual Conference. They were awarded the Prize for their paper ‘My friend far, far away: a random field approach to exponential random graph models’ in the October 2017 issue of the Journal (https://doi.org/10.1111/ectj.12096).

5.2. Winners of 2018 Denis Sargan Econometrics Prize Selected

The Editors of The Econometrics Journal decided that the 2018 Denis Sargan Econometrics Prize will be shared equally between Matt Goldman (Facebook) and David M Kaplan (University of Missouri) for their article ‘Non-parametric inference on (conditional) quantile differences and interquantile ranges, using L-statistics’ in the June 2018 issue of The Econometrics Journal (https://doi.org/10.1111/ectj.12095).

6. Events

6.1 Sargan Lecture

The Sargan Lecture is sponsored by The Econometrics Journal and the speaker is invited by the Society’s President in agreement with the Journal’s Editors. In 2019, James Heckman (University of Chicago) gave a presentation on ‘Analyzing social experiments as implemented’. James Heckman has kindly agreed to publish the paper underlying this lecture in The Econometrics Journal.

The 2020 Sargan Lecture was to have been given by Serena Ng (Columbia University) and the 2021 one by Guido Imbens (Stanford University).

6.2. Special Session on Econometrics of Panel Data at 2019 Annual Conference

At the 2019 Annual Conference at the University of Warwick, the Editors organized a Special Session on Econometrics of Panel Data, with presentations by Ivan Fernandez-Val (Boston University) on ‘Panel models with factor structure’ and Bo Honoré (Princeton University) on ‘Point-identification in simple dynamic binary outcome models’.

6.3. Special Session on Econometrics of Dynamic Discrete Choice at 2020 Annual Conference

We had prepared a Special Session for the 2020 Annual Conference of the Royal Economic Society in Belfast, with presentations by Victor Aguirregabiria (University of Toronto) and Martin Pesendorfer (London School of Economics) .

8. Acknowledgements

We are grateful for the support of the Royal Economic Society and its officers. We particularly recognize the work of the Editors and the anonymous referees, whose efforts ensure that the quality of The Econometrics Journal is maintained and improved. We are also grateful for the assistance offered by our publishers at OUP.