Journal of Economic Literature (J ECON LIT)

Publisher: American Economic Association, American Economic Association

Journal description

Presents economics-related survey and review articles, book reviews, and bibliographic indexes to current literature.

Current impact factor: 9.24

Impact Factor Rankings

2015 Impact Factor Available summer 2015
2009 Impact Factor 6.919

Additional details

5-year impact 9.43
Cited half-life 0.00
Immediacy index 0.85
Eigenfactor 0.02
Article influence 9.82
Website Journal of Economic Literature website
Other titles Journal of economic literature
ISSN 0022-0515
OCLC 1788942
Material type Periodical, Internet resource
Document type Journal / Magazine / Newspaper, Internet Resource

Publisher details

American Economic Association

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author can archive a post-print version
  • Conditions
    • On non-commercial author's website or open access repositories
    • Publisher copyright and source must be acknowledged
    • Eligible UK authors may deposit in OpenDepot
  • Classification
    ​ green

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: William Easterly marshals yet another brilliant critique of established development policies, with a focus on the experts’ excessive focus on state-led policies and goals (à la Myrdal) and ignorance of bottom-up solutions, including technology and individual rights (à la Hayek). It suggests a world where success occurs in spite of nation-states. Yet not all bottom-up leads to success, and the worst disasters, as in civil violence, occur where states fail. Easterly highlights the important links between success and individual freedom and opportunity. He fails to note that myriad impoverished individuals cannot exercise these freedoms due to low expectations or compromised rights.
    Journal of Economic Literature 03/2015; Vol. 53(1):92-101. DOI:10.1257/jel.53.1.1
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    ABSTRACT: This book explores the relationship between the material standard of living and health, both across countries and over time. Above all, Deaton is interested in the question of whether income growth contributes significantly to better health. His answer is no: saving lives in poor countries is not expensive, and there are many episodes of massive health improvements in the absence of income growth. As an alternative, he argues that the cross-sectional correlation between health and income is induced by variation in institutional quality, while over time, parallel improvements in income and health have been a result of advancing knowledge.
    Journal of Economic Literature 03/2015; 53(1):102-114. DOI:10.1257/jel.53.1.102
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    ABSTRACT: Environmental quality in many developing countries is poor and generates substantial health and productivity costs. However, the few existing measures of marginal willingness to pay (MWTP) for environmental quality improvements indicate low valuations by affected households. This paper argues that this seeming paradox is the central puzzle at the intersection of environmental and development economics: Given poor environmental quality and high health burdens in developing countries, why is MWTP seemingly so low? We develop a conceptual framework for understanding this puzzle and propose four potential explanations for why environmental quality is so poor: (1) due to low income levels, individuals value increases in income more than marginal improvements in environmental quality; (2) the marginal costs of environmental quality improvements are high; (3) political economy factors undermine efficient policymaking; and (4) market failures such as weak property rights and missing capital markets distort MWTP for environmental quality. We review the literature on each explanation and discuss how the framework applies to climate change, which is perhaps the most important issue at the intersection of environment and development economics. The paper concludes with a list of promising and unanswered research questions for the emerging sub-field of “envirodevonomics.”
    Journal of Economic Literature 03/2015; 53(1):5-42. DOI:10.1257/jel.53.1.5
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    ABSTRACT: This paper is a critical review of and a reader's guide to a collection of papers by Robert E. Lucas, Jr. about fruitful ways of using general equilibrium theories to understand measured economic aggregates. These beautifully written and wisely argued papers integrated macroeconomics, microeconomics, finance, and econometrics in ways that restructured big parts of macroeconomic research.
    Journal of Economic Literature 03/2015; 53(1):43-64. DOI:10.1257/jel.53.1.43
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    ABSTRACT: The standard economic approach to designing institutions for collective decision making recognizes individuals' strategically rational motivations for misrepresentation and asks how best, given an objective function, to design a set of incentives and constraints to internalize or negate such motivations. Securities Against Misrule offers, in the author's phrase, an “essay in persuasion” to the effect that such an approach is fundamentally misguided. Instead, Elster argues for a behavioral approach centered on designing institutions for good decision making, rather than good outcomes, by individuals whose actions are chronically subject to emotional, self-interested, and prejudicial distortions.
    Journal of Economic Literature 03/2015; 53(1):65-78. DOI:10.1257/jel.53.1.65
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    ABSTRACT: Bert M. Balk of the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University reviews “The Index Number Problem: Construction Theorems”, by Sydney Afriat. The Econlit abstract of this book begins: “Presents a solution to the index number problem. Discusses the new formula; the power algorithm; combinatorics; consistency; and illustration. Includes a section on construction theorems that discusses the system of inequalities a rs > x s - x r ; the principles of choice and preference; utility construction revisited; the construction of separable utility functions from expenditure data; the connection between demand and utility; and revealed preference revealed.”
    Journal of Economic Literature 01/2015; 53(1). DOI:10.1257/jel.53.1.115.r4
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    ABSTRACT: Tara Watson of Williams College reviews “Legacies of the War on Poverty”, by Martha J. Bailey and Sheldon Danziger. The Econlit abstract of this book begins: “Ten papers analyze the economic legacies of the War on Poverty fifty years after its declaration, focusing on the policies and programs that were designed to promote more equal opportunities and increase income. Papers discuss legacies of the war on poverty (Martha J. Bailey and Sheldon Danziger); Head Start origins and impacts (Chloe Gibbs, Jens Ludwig, and Douglas L. Miller); the K-12 education battle (Elizabeth Cascio); supporting access to higher education (Bridget Terry Long); workforce development programs (Harry J. Holzer); the safety net for families with children (Jane Waldfogel); the safety net for the elderly (Kathleen McGarry); performance and legacy of housing policies (Edgar O. Olsen and Jens Ludwig); health programs for non-elderly adults and children (Barbara Wolfe); and Medicare and Medicaid (Katherine Swartz). Bailey is Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Michigan, Faculty Affiliate of the National Poverty Center, and Research Associate of the Population Studies Center. Danziger is H. J. Meyer Distinguished University Professor of Public Policy and Director of the National Poverty Center in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.”
    Journal of Economic Literature 01/2015; 53(1). DOI:10.1257/jel.53.1.115.r7
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    ABSTRACT: Ugo Troiano of the University of Michigan reviews “The Global Debt Crisis: Haunting U.S. and European Federalism”, by Paul E. Peterson and Daniel J. Nadler. The Econlit abstract of this book begins: “Eleven papers, previously presented at a conference held at Harvard University in August 2012, and revised prior to publication, examine the structural flaws in federal systems of government across the globe that have led to economic and political turmoil and present solutions to preserve and restore federal systems that meet the needs of struggling communities. Papers discuss federalism's emerging fiscal crisis; competitive federalism under pressure; whether market discipline can survive in the U.S. federation; putting a price on teacher pensions; structural flaws in the design of public pension plans; past and present high-risk investments by states and localities; between centralization and federalism in the European Union; German federalism at the crossroads; Spanish federalism in crisis; regional identity and fiscal constraints in Spanish federalism; and the resilience of Canadian federalism. Peterson is Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government and Director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University, and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Nadler is a PhD candidate at Harvard University.”
    Journal of Economic Literature 12/2014; 52(4). DOI:10.1257/jel.52.4.1160.r7
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    ABSTRACT: Herein, I review Peter Temin's book, The Roman Market Economy, and take the occasion to alert economists to the exciting work that is being done and could be done in the economic history of the ancient world.
    Journal of Economic Literature 12/2014; 52(4). DOI:10.1257/jel.52.4.1151
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    ABSTRACT: This essay reviews Lawrence Freedman's book Strategy: A History. The main themes—definitions, strategies in war, business, politics, and revolutions—are overviewed. The value of game-theoretic thinking for practical strategy is assessed. A critical discussion of some concepts and dichotomies emphasized by Freedman, e.g., strategy is governed by the starting point, not the end point, and of the role of stories and scripts in strategy, follows.
    Journal of Economic Literature 12/2014; 52(4). DOI:10.1257/jel.52.4.1119
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    ABSTRACT: Martin L. Weitzman of Harvard University reviews “Nature in the Balance: The Economics of Biodiversity”, by Dieter Helm and Cameron Hepburn. The Econlit abstract of this book begins: “Fourteen papers present an economic approach to biodiversity, specifically the conceptual and empirical work on valuation, international agreements, the policy instruments, and the institutions, and address the economic issues involved in biodiversity protection. Papers discuss the economic analysis of biodiversity; biodiversity–its meanings, roles, and status; identifying and mapping biodiversity–where can we damage?; the U.K. National Ecosystem Assessment–valuing changes in ecosystem services; valuing ecosystem services and biodiversity; the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity–challenges and responses; natural capital; biodiversity and national accounting; a review of biodiversity, poverty, and development; regulating global biodiversity–what is the problem?; whether biodiversity policies work–the case for Conservation Evaluation 2.0; whether investments promote biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services are aligned; incentives, private ownership, and biodiversity conservation; and the potential for speculation to threaten biodiversity loss. Helm is a professor and Fellow in Economics with the New College at the University of Oxford, and Chairman of the Independent Natural Capital Committee. Hepburn is Professor of Environmental Economics in the Smith School and the Institute of New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School, all at the University of Oxford.”
    Journal of Economic Literature 12/2014; 52(4). DOI:10.1257/jel.52.4.1160.r19
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    ABSTRACT: Steven Horwitz of St. Lawrence University reviews “F. A. Hayek and the Modern Economy: Economic Organization and Activity”, by Sandra J. Peart and David M. Levy. The Econlit abstract of this book begins: “Ten papers, resulting from the “Hayek and the Modern World” conference held at the University of Richmond in April 2013, explore the role of human agency in Friedrich Hayek's thought and consider his writings as they relate to economic organization and activity, particularly to assess what role he assigns to leaders in determining economic progress. Papers discuss Hayek's unsentimental liberalism (Peter McNamara); Hayek and the “individualists” (Sandra J. Peart and David M. Levy); the evolution, evaluation, and reform of social morality–a Hayekian analysis (Gerald Gaus); Hayek and the conditions of freedom (Kenneth Minogue); Hayek and the early foundations of spontaneous order (Emily Skarbek); Hayek and the nomothetes (Christopher S. Martin); the control of engagement order–Clement Attlee's road to serfdom? (Ekkehard A. Köhler and Stefan Koler); Hayekian perspectives on Canada's economic and social reforms of the 1990s (Jason Clemens and Niels Veldhuis); the conjoint quest for a liberal positive program–“Old Chicago,” Freiburg, and Hayek (Andrew Farrant and Nicola Tynan); and Hayek and Václav Klaus's life (Klaus). Peart is Dean of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond. Levy is Professor of Economics at George Mason University and Distinguished Fellow of the History of Economics Society.”
    Journal of Economic Literature 12/2014; 52(4). DOI:10.1257/jel.52.4.1160.r3
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    ABSTRACT: Gary Fethke and Andrew Policano's book Public No More: A New Path to Excellence for America's Public Universities paints a picture of a future for public research universities that is very different than what many people will want to see. Their message is that the financial and governance models under which public universities have operated have broken down and that new models are required. While I do not always agree with their prescriptions, I argue that private research universities face many of the same issues as their public counterparts and that this book deserves to be widely read by all people concerned with the future of American higher education.
    Journal of Economic Literature 12/2014; 52(4). DOI:10.1257/jel.52.4.1142
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    ABSTRACT: Ben Brooks of the Becker Friedman Institute reviews “GameChanger: Game Theory and the Art of Transforming Strategic Situations”, by David McAdams. The Econlit abstract of this book begins: “Introduces the reader to a gametheory approach to life, including business, and presents six ways to change games that people are confronted with. Discusses commitment; inviting regulation; merging or “colluding”; enabling retaliation; building trust; leveraging relationships; how to escape the prisoners' dilemma; price comparison sites; the Newfoundland cod collapse; the real estate agency; addicts in the emergency department; eBay reputation; and antibiotic resistance. McAdams is Professor in the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.”
    Journal of Economic Literature 12/2014; 52(4). DOI:10.1257/jel.52.4.1160.r4
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    ABSTRACT: Joshua C. Teitelbaum of Georgetown University reviews “Reflections on Judging”, by Richard A. Posner. The Econlit abstract of this book begins: “Explores the challenges that the federal courts face today, with particular emphasis on rising complexity, drawing upon Richard Posner's personal experience as a judge. Discusses Posner's road to the U.S. Court of Appeals; the federal judiciary evolving; the challenge of complexity; formalism and realism in appellate decision making; the inadequate appellate record; coping strategies for appellate judges–judicial self-restraint; coping strategies for appellate judges–interpretation; making it simple, making it new–opinion writing and appellate advocacy; forays into the district court; and potential solutions. Posner is Circuit Judge with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and Senior Lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.”
    Journal of Economic Literature 12/2014; 52(4). DOI:10.1257/jel.52.4.1160.r9
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    ABSTRACT: Shane Greenstein of Northwestern University reviews “The Economics of Information Security and Privacy”, by Rainer Bohme. The Econlit abstract of this book begins: “Thirteen papers, revised and previously presented at the 11th Workshop on the Economics of Information Security held in Berlin in June 2012, explore the economics of information security and privacy, focusing on the management of information security, the economics of information security, the economics of privacy, and the economics of cybercrime. Papers discuss information security costs; whether to invest or not to invest–assessing the economic viability of a policy and security configuration management tool; ad-blocking games–monetizing online content under the threat of ad avoidance; software security economics–theory, in practice; an empirical study on information security behaviors and awareness; sectoral and regional interdependency of Japanese firms under the influence of information security risks; whether we can afford integrity by proof-of-work–scenarios inspired by the Bitcoin currency; online promiscuity–prophylactic patching and the spread of computer transmitted infections; the privacy economics of voluntary overdisclosure in web forms; choice architecture and smartphone privacy–there's a price for that; personal data disclosure in a simulated credit card application; measuring the cost of cybercrime; and an analysis of e-crime in crowd-sourced labor markets–Mechanical Turk versus Freelancer. Böhme is with the European Research Center for Information Systems at the University of Münster.”
    Journal of Economic Literature 12/2014; 52(4). DOI:10.1257/jel.52.4.1160.r10
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    ABSTRACT: Tomas Nonnenmacher of the Department of Economics at Allegheny College reviews “The People's Network: The Political Economy of the Telephone in the Gilded Age”, by Robert MacDougall. The Econlit abstract of this book begins: “Explores the commercial, political, and cultural war over the telephone industry and medium in the United States and Canada, and considers how these struggles built the communication infrastructure we have today. Discusses whether all telephones are local; visions of telephony; unnatural monopoly; the independent alternative; the politics of scale; and the system gospel. MacDougall is Associate Professor of History and Associate Director of the Centre for American Studies at Western University, London, Ontario.”
    Journal of Economic Literature 12/2014; 52(4). DOI:10.1257/jel.52.4.1160.r13
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    ABSTRACT: Catherine Herfeld of the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy reviews “Defending the History of Economic Thought”, by Steven Kates. The Econlit abstract of this book begins: “Explores the importance of the study of the history of economic thought to the practice of economics. Discusses why to study the history of economic thought; debating the role of the history of economic thought; teaching the history of economic thought; and defending the history of economic thought. Kates is with the School of Economics, Finance, and Marketing at RMIT University.”
    Journal of Economic Literature 12/2014; 52(4). DOI:10.1257/jel.52.4.1160.r2