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What Do Editors Maximize? Evidence from Four Economics Journals

David Card and Stefano DellaVigna ()

The Review of Economics and Statistics, 2020, vol. 102, issue 1, 195-217

Abstract: We study editorial decisions using anonymized submissions matched to citations at four leading economics journals. We develop a benchmark model in which editors maximize the expected quality of accepted papers and citations are unbiased measures of quality. We then generalize the model to allow different quality thresholds, systematic gaps between citations and quality, and a direct impact of publication on citations. We find that referee recommendations are strong predictors of citations and that editors follow these recommendations closely. We document two deviations from the benchmark model. First, papers by highly published authors receive more citations, conditional on the referees' recommendations and publication status. Second, recommendations of highly published referees are equally predictive of future citations, yet editors give their views significantly more weight.

Date: 2020
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The Review of Economics and Statistics is currently edited by Amitabh Chandra, Olivier Coibion, Bryan S. Graham, Shachar Kariv, Amit K. Khandelwal, Asim Ijaz Khwaja, Brigitte C. Madrian and Rohini Pande

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