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An Investigation of Editorial Favoritism in the AER

Philip Coelho (), James McClure and Peter J Reilly
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Peter J Reilly: Department of Economics, Whitinger Business Building, room 201 2000 W., University Ave., Muncie, IN 47306, USA. E-mails:;;

Eastern Economic Journal, 2014, vol. 40, issue 2, 274-281

Abstract: This paper contributes to a substantial literature assessing the credibility of academic research. We examine the hypothesis that selection procedures of journals favor submissions that cite journal insiders. Our tests use data from the American Economic Review (AER) and the number of citations to AER publications that appear in non-AER journals. We find that citations to AER-insiders in articles in the AER were statistically insignificant; however, increased frequency of citations in non-AER journals were positively (albeit statistically insignificant) related to references to AER insiders. The sign is precisely opposite of what one would expect if submissions were judged on criteria other than intellectual merit. The evidence is robust across specifications. Given our metric, sample, and procedures, we do not find any significant support for the hypothesis of editorial favoritism.

Date: 2014
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