Economics Journals: A Chronological Account

Philosophical Transactions of the Ingenius

Much of what follows is a highly speculative sketch on the historical development of economic journals;  we are looking for any good resource or authority on the history of these journals to correct our brief account.

Key:     * - "Light", "political" or "news-oriented" economics journal/magazine
             # - not principally dedicated to economics; only occasionally publishes economics essays. 

Dates specify date of first issue (and, if applicable, last issue).  Journals are ordered chronologically from date of first issue.  Acronyms and nicknames we use in this website are given under journal titles.  (Click here for alphabetical list of journal acronyms)

Pre-Enlightenment (pre-1750)

The means of communication of economic ideas have, of course, varied over the centuries.  Medieval scholastic writers expressed their economic theories mostly in religious treatises on law and justice (De justitie et jure).  In the 17th and 18th Centuries, Mercantilists and other economic writers published their work (usually anonymously) as pamphlets of persuastion, usually addressed to rulers and parliaments, in the hope of influencing policy.  Some (e.g. Cameralists) were already state officials, and publishing handbooks for their successors.  Throughout this time, only a handful of regularly-published journals existed.  These were set up largely to review scientific literature that was published elsewhere rather than as a repository for new essay-length treatises.  The two leading serious journals in Europe were the French Journal des Savants and the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.  In the 1690s we begin seeing the first commercial newspapers, put out as reading materials for the merchant customers of London coffee houses.  In the early 1700s starts the great explosion of Augustan literary reviews, - DeFoe's Review, Swift's Examiner, and Steele & Addison's Spectator, usually written singlehandedly. While dedicated to politics, satire and scandal, they could occasionally turn to economic and financial matters. 

Journal des Savants (France, 1665-)#

  • J de Savants. Founded by Denis de Sallo and carried after three numbers by Abbe Gallois, has the honor of being widely regarded as the world's first scholarly journal.  It published titles of new works in science, mathematics, history, philosophy, etc., accompanied by extracts and criticisms (often quite sharp).  It was originally published in Amsterdam. 1665-1929 are archived online at Gallica.

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (Britain, 1665-)# 

  • Phil Trans of RS.  Published by the Royal Society of London, founded 1660 by a group of London scientists that included the astronomer Christopher Wren, the chemist Robert Boyle and the economist William Petty.   Parts of the are archived online at ILEJ.  1665-1886 and 1887-1929 archived online at Gallica

Nouvelles de la république des lettres (France, 1685-1710)#

  • Edited by Protestant scholar Pierre Bayle, as a review of literature similar to the J de Savants.  Put out by Bayle monthly until 1689, then continued by other editors until 1699. It was briefly revived in 1708-1710.  Also published in Amsterdam.

Lloyd's List and Shipping Gazette, (Britain, 1696-)

  • Arguably the world's oldest commercial newspaper.  Put out by Edward Lloyd, the famous owner of Lloyd's Coffee Shop on Lombard Street in London, the meeting place of merchants and underwriters.  It was essentially dedicated to the latest shipping news and economic events, for the benefit of his customers.  Originally known as Lloyd's News, it was renamed Lloyd's List and Shipping Gazette in 1734, when it was turned into a regular weekly.   

The Course of the Exchange, and Other Things (1698-)

  • Not quite a newspaper, but rather a bi-weekly published single-sheet list of prices of  currencies, stocks, securities and commodities, that started being put out by John Castaing at Jonathan's Coffee House. Castaing's  "list" can be properly regarded as the first published record of the London Stock Exchange. The list continued after Castaing's death in 1708 by his son. 

A Review of the Affairs of France: and of all Europe, as influence'd by that nation (1704-1712)#*

  • Weekly, later bi-weekly then thrice-weekly, English newspaper on politics, wholly written by Daniel DeFoe. Originally in support of the Tory ministry, with a sub-section, the Mercure Scandale, or Advice from the Scandalous Club, dedicated to scurrilous rumors and fantastical journalism, often presented as "translations" from a French paper, that was later put out separately.  DeFoe changed its title after 1705 to A Review of the State of the English Nation and after 1707 "British" was insterted rather than English.
  • English Literary Periodicals of Morals & Manners: Appendix C. by Ames

The Tatler (Britain, 1709-1711)#*

  • Thrice-weekly English satirical newspaper on politics, literature and manners, written by London wit Richard Steele under the pseudonym "Isaac Bickerstaff" from his perch at Will's Coffee House.  The Tatler ran from April 1709 to January 1711. (Tatler edition of 1822:  v. 1, v.2, v.3, v.4)

The Examiner (Britain, 1710-1714)#*

  • Partisan Tory political sheet which was briefly edited by Jonathan Swift and made his reputation in political circles.   It ran until July, 1714. (Examiner: 1710, 1711, 1712, 1713, 1714).

The Spectator (Britain, 1711-1714)#*

  • After the demise of his The Tatler in January, Richard Steele joined forces with Joseph Addison and launched this new magazine on politics, literature and manners.  Appearing six times a week, it ran until December, 1712, with an extra final run in 1714.  (v.1, v.2, v.3, v.4, v.5, v.6, v.7, v.8)

Enlightenment Journals (c. 1750-1800)

Around the mid-18th Century, gripped by the Enlightenment spirit, a new means of communication emerged, the learned journal or review.  The demand during this period was clear: the middle classes were looking for "self-improvement", the educated classes looking for exciting debates and new ideas, and for the nobility looking for topics for social conversation (perfect for poseurs!).  

The success of  Denis Diderot's Encyclopèdie, published between 1751 and 1765, was the great spur for the development of journals.  True, the public had always demanded magazines -- weekly or monthly publications dedicated to witty, political position papers, current news or contemporary dramatic and literary criticism, like the early 18th century light magazines Mercure de France or the Tatler and Spectator.  But what the Encyclopèdie specifically taught was that the public was willing to digest high-level theoretical essays -- bound together, published regularly over time and distributed as fascicules to subscribers. In short, journals.   It seems as if encyclopedias, and not magazines, are the true antecedents of the modern scholarly journal.

There was an explosion of high-quality learned journals in the 1750s and 1760s, particularly in France.  Several of them were exclusively dedicated to serious treatises on political economy.   The following were the leading journals of the period where economic writers were welcome: 

Scots Magazine (Britain, 1739-1826)#

Encyclopèdie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des métiers et des arts. (France, 1751-1765)#

  • The most famous publication of the French Enlightenment era, edited by Denis Diderot and d"Alembert.   Its entries -- polemical but high-level discussions on theoretical questions -- made it seem more like a series of pamplets bound into a set of volumes, rather than the conventional "dictionary" it was intended to be.  Furthermore, the distribution of the Encyclopèdie -- piecemeal, over time, to a set of subscribers -- was effectively "journal-like".  All the leading social philosophers and economists of the time contributed to it.

Journal oeconomique (France, 1751-1772)

Novelliste Oeconomique et Littéraire (France, 1754-1761)

Edinburgh Review (Britain, 1755-1756)#

  • Short-lived, twice-yearly critical journal (unrelated to its later namesake) which was an important outlet for the Scottish Enlightenment philosophers, notably Adam Smith's first writings.  Curiously, Smith carefully kept the Review a secret from his friend David Hume, lest he draw the hostility of Prebysterian clergymen and Tory officials to the fledgling journal.  It was nonetheless closed down after only a couple of numbers. It was in honor of this journal that the later magnificent Whig quarterly was named. [Edinburgh Review of 1755]

Journal du Commerce (Belgium, 1759-1762)

Gazette du Commerce (France, 1763-1783)*

  • More a business newspaper than a journal, its heavier articles were published separately as a supplement, the Journal d'agriculture, du commerce et des finances.

Journal d'agriculture, du commerce et des finances (France, 1765-1783)

  • JdACF. Neo-Colbertise journal, published monthly as a repository for the "heavier" articles in the Gazette du Commerce.  In the period 1765 to 1766, when Dupont de Nemours was its editor, it served as a Physiocratic outlet, but was subsequently barred to them. 

Ephémérides du Citoyen (France, 1765-1772)

Nouvelles Ephémérides Economiques (France, 1774-1766, 1788?).

Ephemeriden der Menschheit (Germany, 1776-1782)

Treatises and Reviews  (c.1800-1850)

Then something happened.  We are not quite sure what,  but it seems as if, by at least the early 1790s, many of the learned journals  disappeared.  Doubtlessly, some were closed down by the nervousness of kings and clergy.  Perhaps this was reinforced by the passing of the Enlightenment's penchant for self-improvement and the subsequent exigencies of revolution and war. 

What seems certain is that the means of economic communication entered a new phase.  Economic essays continued to be written, but without specialized journals, distribution was a problem.  For the most part, essay-length treatises were turned either into policy pamphlets, or entries into encyclopedias (and numerous ones were intermittently cobbled together) or were snuck into the (few) existing journals of other scientific fields (statistical journals were a particular favorite). 

Alternatively, they could write a book.  It was around this time that the first book-length (and, more interestingly, signed) treatises in economics began to appear.  The first were probably those of Sir James Steuart (1767) and Adam Smith (1776).   Virtually every economist of the time -- such as Say, Ricardo and Malthus --  eventually attempted their hand at a comprehensive, book-length  "treatise".  While excellent in offering the author free reign in abstract theorizing, the book-length treatise was not always a good means of transmitting new ideas and generating scholarly debate.  Often written as textbooks (to convince publishers of sales value), readers would have to dig through two hundred or so pages of elementary, well-known basic principles and mountains of definitions and illustrative examples, before finally reaching the theoretical "meat".  

This was also the time of the great British "reviews" - the Whiggish Edinburgh Review (f.1802), the staunchly Tory Quarterly Review (1809), Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine (1817), the Benthamite Westminster Review (1824), etc.  But these reviews were a throwback to the pre-Enlightenment formula - that is, geared to reviewing existing pamphlets and treatises, rather than a medium for original essays.  To be sure, the reviewers inserted their own perspectives in the reviews, but there wasn't space for the kind of abstract, focused theoretical treatment you would have found in the Enlightenment journals.  Of the four, the Edinburgh Review probably commands pride of place of retaining a high equality focus on economics from its inception until at least the 1840s.  The others were more news-oriented, general-topic magazines.

Finally, we should make mention of the production of small volumes for popular consumption - like  Jane Marcet (1816) and Harriet Martineau (1834).  These outlined economic principles for general "low-brow" consumption. 

One should also take note of  the emergence of magazines such as the weekly The Economist and the monthly Journal des économistes. Lighter and more journalistic than the reviews, these magazines were at least a bit more focused on issues related to political economy.  Naturally, there was even less room for abstract theoretical essays in these magazines, but they were important channels by which economists could influence the general public opinion on economic policies and issues of the day.  

The following is a selection of the the major periodicals of this era:

La Décade philosophique (France, 1794-?)

  • Decade phil. Journal of the idéologues, edited by Jean-Baptiste Say.

Journal des débats (1789-1842)*#

  • J de Debats. Light, politically-oriented French magazine with a liberal bent.  Resurrected later in the 1860s under the editorship of Gustave de Molinari.

Journal d'économie publique, de morale et de politique (France, 1796-?)*

  • Although semi-focused on economic matters, it was lighter and more "news-like" than the earlier journals. 

Annales de statistique, ou Journal d'économie politique, industrielle et commerciale, de géographie, d'histoire naturelle, d'agriculture, de physique, d'hygiène et de littérature (France, 1801-?)#

Edinburgh Review (Britain, 1802-1929)#

  • Edinburgh Rev. Whig review, published quarterly.   It was the most prominent and widely-circulating of the great reviews.   Its creation was inspired by the (waning) Scottish Enlightenment.  It was jointly founded by Sidney Smith, Henry Brougham, Frances Horner and Francis Jeffrey, all quite young at the time. Jeffrey served as its chief editor until 1829, when he was replaced by Macvey Napier.  Brougham and Horner produced most of the economic articles until 1818, when  James R. McCulloch was brought on board.  Until the end of the 1830s, McCulloch used the review to promote the doctrines of the Classical School.   Malthus, John Stuart Mill and T.B. Macaulay  were also occasional contributers.  The Edinburgh Review maintained a strong laissez-faire and reformist bent throughout, providing the journalistic knee to the back of the Whig spine, and its wide circulation helped spread classical liberalism in Britain.

  Quarterly Review (Britain 1809-1967)#

  • Quarterly Rev. Tory review, published quarterly, founded by John Murray, at the urging of Sir Walter Scott (who had previously worked on the Edinburgh Review but couldn't stand the Whiggishness).  Bizarrely, the poet Robert Southey was one of the main editors on economic affairs.  Generally-focused, it didn't invite - nor have much of an impact - on the development of economics, other than as a reactionary bastion against policy reform.

Le Censeur, (France 1814-15)#  

  • French Liberal journal founded by Charles Comte and Charles Dunoyer.  Suppressed by the French authorities.  Archived at Gallica.

Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine (Britain, 1817-1980)*#

  • Blackwoods. Light, politically-oriented Tory magazine (published monthly) with more local Scottish orientation, more literature and  even more conservative than the Quarterly Review on economic policy. (some of it archived online)

Le Censeur Européen ou Examen de diverses questions de droit public et de divers, (France 1818)#  

  • Re-founded Liberal journal edited from abroad by Charles Dunoyer.  Archived at Gallica.

Revue Encyclopédique (France, 1819-1835)#

Westminster Review (Britain, 1824-1914)#

  • Westminster Rev. The utilitarian review, published quarterly. founded by James Mill and Jeremy Bentham, to provide a radical alternative to the Whig Edinburgh Review and the Tory Quarterly Review.  The Westminster Review was taken over by Perronet Thompson in 1830, who deployed it as a mouthpiece for the reform movement.  John Stuart Mill founded his own London Review in 1834, and, a couple of years later, purchased the Westminster and merged them into the London and Westminster Review (a name it retained for a while).  It was purchased by John Chapman in 1851, who turned it into a more general-interest magazine.  Its later years were dogged with financial difficulties.  It folded in 1914.  

The Spectator (Britain, 1828-)*#

  • Started off as a Whiggish weekly magazine, but gradually became more Tory as the century progressed.  In the 20th C., it swung again back to left.

Fraser's Magazine for Town and Country (Britain, 1830-)*#

  • Fraser's Mag. Tory weekly magazine.  The scene of a bitter spat in 1849 between Thomas Carlyle and John Stuart Mill on the question of slavery and the role of political economy.  Carlyle's Sartor Resartus was first published here. 

Proceedings of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (Britain, 1833-)

Journal of the (Royal) Statistical Society of London  (Britain, 1838-)#

  • J of SSL and JRSS. Probably the first serious English-language scientific journal.  The Statistical Society of London was founded by the Section F members of the BAAS (e.g. Malthus and Jones).  It was open to contributions from economists and became, for an unjustifiably long time, one of their very few high-level outlets. 

Bulletin of Manchester Statistical Society (Britain, 1833-)#

  • Bull of MSS. Played the same role for economists as the JRSSJevons published much here.

Journal des économistes (France, 1841-1940)*

  • JdE. Bastion of the French Liberal School.  This highly-influential journal was founded by Gilbert-Urbain Guillaumin, owner of a publishing house and head of the Société d'économie politique. The JdE can be seen as the French equivalent of The Economist of London, although its articles were a bit more high-brow.  The dogmatic editorial policies of the JdE and its fraternal journals ensured that many alternative economic views -- notably those of the French syndicalist-socialist economists -- would not find an outlet in France. Some of its more famous editors include Courcelle-Seneuil and, from 1881, Gustave de Molinari.

New York Daily Tribune (U.S., 1841-1924)

  • OK, so not a journal but a left-wing daily newspaper.  Nonetheless important for history of economics: Karl Marx was a correspondent from 1851 to 1862.

Punch Magazine (Britain, 1841-)*#

  • Punch. Famous British magazine which pioneered the use of cartoons and satire for political purposes.  Although the height of its influence was in the Victorian era, it still exists today.

Rheinische Zeitung für Politik, Handel und Gewerbe (Germany, 1842-1843)

  • Rhein Zeit. Anti-Prussian, Cologne-based daily left-wing newspaper, edited by Karl Marx.  Suppressed by Prussian authorities.

The Economist (Britain, 1843-)*

  • Weekly newspaper founded by Manchester School liberals to promote repeal of Corn Laws; edited for a long time by Walter Bagehot.  It remains perhaps the best weekly news-magazine in the world today. 

New Englander and Yale Review (U.S., 1843-1892)*#

Libre-Échange (France, 1846-?)*

Neue Rheinische Zeitung: Organ für demokratie (Germany, 1848-1849)

  • Neue Rhein Zeit. Attempted resurrection of Rheinische Zeitung by Marx.  Suppressed again..

Emergence of Academic Economics Journals (c.1850-c.1915)

The specialized, scholarly journals we are familiar with today emerged around mid-century in Central Europe.  The serious research traditions and early academic professionalization in Continental European universities required a serious outlet -- and this generated the resurrection of the scholarly journal.  

The Anglo-American universities, which still seemed like  "young gentlemen finishing schools" during much of this period , caught up much more slowly.  However, nearing the turn of the century, there emerged a series of "new" research universities along Continental lines, such as Johns Hopkins, Chicago, M.I.T. and the  L.S.E..  The research needs and the competitive spirit of these fledgling institutions encouraged the exploration of various avenues by which to make their institutional mark on the academic landscape.  At every step, their efforts were copied by the older universities such as Cambridge, Harvard and Yale who were eager not to be left behind and, in the process, reinvented themselves as research schools.  Creating professional associations and launching journals was a quick way of raising the profile of a university and stamping it as a "serious" research institution.  Hosting a journal is always good way to attract attention, but what is even better is that by controlling the editorship of the house journal, the universities simultaneously ensured that their own faculty's publication lists will climb a lot faster than those of others.  

The incentive to establish journals in economics was even greater than for other fields: recall that the status of economics as a serious, "scientific" subject was in grave doubt in the 1860s and 1870s, thus anything that could be done to "legitimize" it professionally was encouraged.  Thus, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the American Economic Association, the Royal Economic Society, the Journal of Political Economy, etc. were all clear attempts by  professional academic economists to not only raise the profiles of their universities on a national scale, but also that of their departments within the university.

Also worth mentioning was the rise of the left-wing economics magazine during this period.  As labor movements, cooperatives and more radical socialist movements emerged, they found themselves uniformly opposed by the conventional reviews and magazines.  They thus created their own -- not only to influence wider public opinion, but also to raise the political and economic consciousness of the working classes they claimed to represent.  Most of these did not last long -- usually for lack of funds and/or political suppression. But a handful of ones -- particular those associated with established parties (e.g.  Labour in Britain) -- managed to survive into the next era.

The following economics periodicals were begun in this period:

Zeitschrift für die gesamte staatswissenschaft (Germany, 1844-)

  • ZGS The first scholarly economics journal, founded by the University of Tübingen.  Now known as the Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE)

Bulletin de la Société d'économie politique (France,1846-)

De Economist ((Netherlands, 1852-) 

  • De Econ. Journal published by the Royal Netherlands Economic Association.

The Atlantic Monthly (U.S., 1857-)*#

  • Atlantic. Popular American magazine of opinion with occasional reflective essays on matters of economic policy.  19th Century issues archived online.

Macmillan's Magazine (Britain, 1859-?)  Founded by David Masson, a literature professor at Edinburgh.  In the 1880s, it snatched Morley from the Fortnightly Review, who brought along some economists for a a few yours.

Jahrbücher für nationalökonomie und statistik (German, 1863-)

  • JNS.

Fortnightly Review (Britain, 1865-1954 )*#

  • Fortnightly Rev. Under the editorship of  John Morley, it started off quite well. Morley, an Enlightenment scholar, must have recalled the energy of the Encyclopedie, and invited depth, debate and controversy in it.  The Mill-Thornton duel over the Wages Fund was fought in its pages in the late 1860s, morphing into a battle over the marginalist revolution between Cairnes and Jevons in the 1870s. Walter Bagehot's more heavyweight pieces were also published here.  Millicent Fawcett and other reformists were allowed to push their programs in it. But by the 1880s, Morley had decamped to Macmillan's Magazine (taking some of his magic with him).  The Fortnightly Review subsequently moved sharply away from economics (and most serious subjects and debate).  It folded into the Contemporary Review in 1955.

Contemporary Review (Britain, 1866- )*#

  • Contemp Rev. Absorbed the Fortnightly Review in 1955.

Jahrbuch für Verwaltung und Rechtspflege des Deutschen Reichs (Germany, 1871-)

  • JfVRDR. Founded by Gustav Schmoller as an attempt at a serious but widely-read journal that would promote the social vision of the Verein für sozialpolitik.  Although very influential in German policy circles, its social mission did not work out as intended and became a regular academic journal, publishing works in the German Historicist tradition.  Later known as Schmollers Jahrbuch and now known as the Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften (ZfWS).

L'Économiste français (1873 -1937)*

  • Econ franc. Merged into Revue économique et financière, 1937-1940

Giornale degli Economisti (Italy, 1875-)

  • GdE. Published by the University Bocconi of Milan.  For a long time, the only journal that accepted overtly "mathematical" articles. Main outlet for the Lausanne School.

Mind (Britain, 1876-)#

  • Founded by UCL philosopher Croom-Robertson, it was the first philosophy journal in Britain.  It was favored by economists when they were in a metaphysical mood.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (U.S., 1877-)#

  • Proc NAS. Highly prestigious outlet for the announcement and summary of major findings in the sciences in general.  The underlying, full-length papers are usually published elsewhere.   

La réforme sociale, (France, 1881-1930)

Die Neue Zeit: Revue des geistigen und öffentlichen Lebens (Germany, 1883-1923)

  • Stuttgart-based economics magazine founded by Karl Kautsky and served as an organ of the German Social-Democratic Workers' Party. The main journal outlet for the early Marxian School -- and where much of the "revisionist" debate was fought.  1892-93 archived online at Gallica

Annuaire de l'économie politique et de la statistique (France, 1884-1899)

The Commonweal (Britain, 1885-1895)*#

Quarterly Journal of Economics (U.S., 1886-) 

  • QJE. The first English-language economics journal, run by Harvard University faculty.  In its early years, it was run by Frank Taussig.   It served as an outlet for his brand of Marshallian economics and the "orthodox middle" between differently-slanted AER and JPE.  At least up until World War II, the QJE was probably the most prestigious American journal. 

Political Science Quarterly (U.S., 1886-)

  • PSQ. Popular journal of political affairs, published by the Columbia's School of Political Science (founded 1880).  E.R.A. Seligman served as its editor during the glorious reign of Columbia economics.  

Revue d'économie politique (France, 1887-)

  • REP. Major economics journal founded by Charles Gide (with the encouragement of Léon Walras) as a counter-weight to the liberal Journal des économistes.    The eclectic REP offered a haven for all sorts of approaches, including those of French syndicalist-socialists and the Lausanne School.  Under Gide's long and judicious editorship (he retired only in 1932), the REP became France's most prestigious economics journal.  Partly archived online at Gallica 

Statsøkonomisk tidsskrift (Norway, 1887-)

Journal of American Statistical Association (U.S.,1888-)

  • JASA. Exactly what it says it is. Served as the outlet for the more quantitatively-inclined articles of contemporary economists.  

Economic Journal (Britain, 1891-)

  • EJ. Journal of the Royal Economic Society (founded 1890). The EJ was for a long time the only serious quality British economic journal.  The EJ's first editor, Francis Ysidro Edgeworth presided from its founding in 1891 until 1911, when the editorship passed on to John Maynard Keynes (Edgeworth returned as joint editor later to help out the busy Keynes).  Control of the EJ was critical for Alfred Marshall, who was intent on extending the influence of Cambrige Neoclassicism through it.  Marshall's instructions on editorial policy -- keep out the math, keep out the historians, etc. --  ensured its lop-sidedness and eventual decline in quality after its first sparkling decade. For a while, only the brilliant book reviews and articles by Edgeworth and Pigou kept the journal alive.  However, after Keynes took over, the quality of the contributions improved considerably, if only for the controversies that raged on its pages in the 1920s and 1930s -- e.g. the Sraffa returns-to-scale debate, the Keynes-Hayek battle, the imperfect competition revolution, the Keynes-Stockholm debate, etc.

Economic Review (Britain, 1891-1914)

  • Econ Rev. For the early period, EJ's only rival in Britain -- but of much inferior and unbalanced quality.  Published by Oxford's Christian Social Union.  

Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences (U.S., 1890-)#

  • AAPSS.

The Clarion  (Britain, 1891-1931)*#

Journal of Political Economy (U.S., 1892-)

  • JPE. Journal edited by the University of Chicago faculty, thus being the principal mouthpiece of the Chicago School. In the 1920s, Frank H. Knight began to use it as a pulpit for militant Neoclassical theory, in juxtaposition to the militant Institutionalism in the AER (the partisan shouting between these journals helped the QJE slip through the middle and become the "establishment" journal).  In the post-war era, the JPE was the launchpad for the Monetarists and, later, the New Classical counter-revolution in macroeconomics, and the residence of much of the Chicago School's microeconomics program.

Yale Review (U.S., 1892-1911?)

  • Yale Rev.  Formerly the New Englander and Yale Review which was bought in 1892 by Henry W. Farnam and relaunched as the Yale Review, a journal of "scientific discussion of economic, political and social questions."   Served as the outlet of Yale social scientists around the turn of the century.  Closed soon after the launch of the A.E.A.'s American Economic Review.  Unrelated to the modern  Yale Review, a literary journal. 

Zeitschrift für Volkswirtschaft und Sozialpolitik (Austria, 1892-)

  • ZfVS.

Dictionary of Political Economy (Britain, 1894-99)

  • Not a journal, of course. R.H. Inglis Palgrave, ex-editor of the Economist, put together this encyclopedic dictionary.  Numerous economists used the opportunity to publish essay-length articles.

Statsvetenskaplig tidskrift för politik-statistik-ekonomik (Sweden, 1897-?)

Ekonomisk Tidskrift (Sweden,1899-).

  • Ekon Tidsk. Founded by David Davidson, it eventually became the principal outlet for the Stockholm School.  Renamed the Swedish and then Scandanavian Journal of Economics.

Biometrika (Britain, 1901-)#

Revue économique internationale (Belgium, 1904-1940)

  • Rev Econ Int. Journal founded and backed by a consortium of French-Belgian industrial and financial concerns (e.g. Société Generale), which became the major organ of the French historical school -- particularly of Émile Levasseur and its more corporatist wing.  The integrity of its articles was suspect -- their content was noticeably influenced by the journal's owners.

Proceedings of the American Political Science Association (U.S., 1904-, then American Political Science Review, 1913-)#

  • Proc APSA. Exactly what is says it is.  Early economists (particularly of the Institutionalist vein) often contributed to it.

The Nation  (Britain, 1907-1931)*#

  • Initially a Liberal, then Labour weekly magazine.  In 1921, it merged with the older literary journal, the Athenaeum (founded 1822).  The resulting Nation and Athenaeum was then bought in 1923 by a group headed by John Maynard Keynes.  Subsequently, Keynes used the journal as a platform for his own criticisms of the government economic policy.  In 1931, the Nation and Athenaeum was absorbed by the New Statesman.

Revue d'histoire économique et sociale (France, 1908-)

  • RdHES. French economics history journal, founded by Auguste Deschamps and Auguste Dubois.  Later renamed Histoire, économie et société  Partly archived online at Gallica.

Bulletin of the American Economic Association (U.S., 1908-1910)

American Economic Review (U.S., 1911-)

  • AER. Principal journal of the American Economic Association  (founded 1885), but of inconsistent quality throughout its history.  Initially, it served as an outlet for Institutionalist thought.  Its partisan shouting matches with the Neoclassicals at the JPE and QJE hampered its rise in prestige.  However, in the post-1945 period, as it acquired more conventionally Neoclassical tastes, it rapidly rose in prominence to become perhaps the most prestigious, generally-oriented American economics journal.  Effectively, what is published in the AER defines where the economics mainstream is "at".  For more details about the AER, see our webpage on the AEA.  Part of the AER (1911-1921) is freely accessible online.

Archiv fur Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik (Germany, 1911-1923)

  • ArchSS.

The New Statesman (Britain, 1912-)*#

  • Weekly magazine set up by the Fabian Socialists.  In 1931, it absorbed the competing Keynes-run Liberal-Labour weekly, The Nation and Athenaeum.  

The International Institutional Wave (c. 1915-c.1970)

The experience of the previous period demonstrated that a journal was a particularly effective way of advertising an institution like a university or a professional association.  After World War I, numerous "new" institutions hungry for attention absorbed the lesson and put out a journal.  Many of these institutions included attention-hungry universities like L.S.E, Manchester, Osaka, Oxford, Louvain, the New School, etc.  New research institutes, like Kiel Institute and the Institut de Sciences Economiques Appliqueés, did the same.  In a peculiar twist, entire countries (e.g. Australia, South Africa, Canada,  Scotland, etc.) brought out journals as flag-carriers, symbols of national research prestige.  Even commercial banks and companies, such as Lloyds and Banca Nazionale de Lavoro introduced house journals.

A second kind of journal emerged in this period -- namely, those created in response to the restrictive editorial policies of the older journals.  Particularly important were Econometrica and the Review of Economic Studies created by economists frustrated at the anti-mathematical bent of the existing journals.  Similarly, Metroeconomica and the Journal of Economic Issues, were created in response to the refusal of older journals to consider articles which were not written in accordance with the dominant Anglo-American economic orthodoxy of the day.  

The following journals were created during this period (many institutionally-backed journals are generalist, so we don't give details for all).

Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv (Germany, 1913-) 

  • WWA. Probably the first economics journal published by a research institute -- the Kiel Institute for World Economics.  It was the main organ of the Kiel School's business cycle program until the Nazi era.  It has slowly regained much of the prominence it lost then. 

Chinese Social and Political Science Review (China, 1916-1937)

Review of Economics and Statistics  (U.S., 1919-)

Economica (Britain, 1921-)

  • Published by the London School of Economics.  It was the L.S.E.'s attempt to displace the editorially-discriminating EJ as the leading British journal.   Helped the L.S.E. challenge Cambridge's dominance in British economics.

International Labour Review (International, 1921-)

  • ILR. Journal published by the League of Nations' International Labour Office, and then the UN's International Labor Organization.

Zeitschrift für Volkswirtschaft und Socialpolitik (Austria, 1921-1927)

  • ZfVS. In 1929, resurrected as the Zeitschrift für Nationalökonomie (ZfN).  

Journal of Business (U.S., 1922-)

  • J of Bus. Published by the Chicago Graduate School of Business, thus retaining a Chicago School bent.

Annali di economia (Italy, 1924-)

Economic Record (Australia, 1924-)

  • EconRec. Published by the Economic Society of Australia, consequently the most prominent Australian journal.

Kyoto University Economic Review (Japan, 1926-?)

Economic History Review (Britain, 1927-)

Recherches économiques de Louvain (Belgium, 1929-)

  • RELouvain. Journal of the Université Catholique de Louvain.

Zeitschrift für Nationalökonomie (Austria, 1929-)

  • ZfN. Resurrected version of the old Zeitschrift für Volkswirtschaft und Socialpolitik, the first of a series of economic theory journals that arose in this period that accepted economics papers with mathematical content.  Since 1970, it also carries the simple English title of Journal of Economics.

Annales d'histoire économique et sociale (France, 1929-)

The Manchester School of Economic and Social Studies (Britain, 1929-)

  • Manchester School or MS.  Run by the University of Manchester.

Lloyds Bank Review (Britain, 1930-)

  • Lloyds BR.

Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (US, 1937-)

  • Edited by Edwin R.A. Seligman and Alvin Johnson.  Includes contributions by prominent economists.  The later International Encyclopedia of Social Sciences (edited by David Sills) can be seen as a "further" edition.

Econometrica (International, 1933-)

  • Etrica. The first mathematically-unrestrained economics journal and also perhaps the first "international" economics journal (e.g. several languages were allowed).  Published by the Econometric Society (founded 1930), Econometrica was initiated by Irving Fisher and Ragnar Frisch (who served as editor for a long time), with the financial assitance of Alfred Cowles.  Its purpose was to break the anti-mathematical policies of the other journals and raise the profile of mathematical economics in general.  It rose to prominence very quickly on the crest of the Paretian revival and the econometrics revolution.  It was the principal vechicle for the development of Neo-Walrasian general equilibrium theory.  Today, it is perhaps the most prestigious journal in the world, but its mathematically-intensive writing does not make it broadly appealing. 

Review of Economic Studies (Britain, 1933-)

  • RES.  Although not officially affiliated with the L.S.E., it was nonetheless part of the L.S.E.'s bid for institutional prominence.   With the blessing of Lionel Robbins, the RES was founded and run by L.S.E. graduate students such as Paul Sweezy, Abba Lerner, Ursula (Webb) Hicks and Nicholas Kaldor.  Like Econometrica, the RES was also mathematically-unrestrained, but its pieces were shorter and from younger contributors. This last point was particularly stressed. Until the 1950s, the Editorial Board of the RES was barred to anyone holding a Readership or Professorship in a British university, in order to encourage and support the research of young economists.  

South African Journal of Economics (South Africa, 1933-)

  • South African JE.

Southern Economic Journal (U.S., 1933-)

El Trimestre Economico (Mexico, 1934-)

Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science (Canada, 1934-)

  • Canadian JE.

Social Research (U.S., 1934-)#

Oxford Economic Papers (Britain, 1938-)

  • OEP.  House journal of Oxford economists. Only began being published regularly since 1949.

Journal of Economic History (U.S., 1941-)

  • JEH

American Journal of Economics and Sociology (U.S., 1941-)

  • AJES. Interdisciplinary journal founded by followers of Henry George.

Revue économique et sociale (Switzerland, 1943-)

  • Rev econ sociale Principal organ of the interdisciplinary "modern" Lausanne School.

Review of Social Economy (US, 1944-)

Revista de economía política (Spain, 1945-)

Journal of Finance (U.S., 1946-)

  • J of Finance. The journal of the American Finance Association.  Initially an outlet for practitioners, its quality and prominence have since been elevated immensely (esp. after the 1970s), concurrently with the rise of theoretical finance.  The leading journal in finance today.

Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review (Italy, 1947-)

  • BNLQR.

International Organization (US, 1947-)#

  • International affairs journal.  An early outlet for writings on international economics and policy.

Ricerche economiche  (Italy, 1947-)

  • Ricerche Econ. Associated with the University of Venice.

Economia internazionale (Italy, 1948-)

Économie appliquée (France, 1948-)

Monthly Review (US, 1948-)

  • MR. Founded by Paul Sweezy and Leo Huberman.  A principal organ of the American "monopoly capitalism" strand of Neo-Marxism

Kyklos (Switzerland, 1948)

  • Accessible, interdisciplinary journal founded by Edgar Salin, dedicated to conveying economic results and debates to a wider public. 

Metroeconomica (International, 1949-)

  • Metroec. A self-consciously cosmopolitan journal in many ways -- dedicated to giving equal time to all schools of thought and especially to conveying the research conducted outside of the Anglo-American stream.

Economic Studies Quarterly (Japan, 1949-)

  • ESQ

Revue économique (France, 1950-)

  • Revue Econ. Founded by Albert Aftalion, it was an attempt at a more "empirically-minded" French economics journal.

Osaka Economic Papers (Japan, 1952-)

  • Osaka EP.House journal of Osaka University, and one of the better Japanese journals.

Challenge: The Magazine of economic affairs  (US, 1952-)*

  • Popular, accessible, policy-oriented economics magazine of no particular ideological bent, dedicated to bringing the layman in on economics debates.

Journal of Industrial Economics (International, 1952-)

  • JIndustE

Economic Development and Cultural Change (US, 1952-)

Scottish Journal of Political Economy (Britain, 1953-)

  • ScotJPE.

SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics (US, 1953-)#

IMF Staff Papers (International, 1954)

American Economist (U.S., 1957-)*

  • Accessible journal of Omicron Delta Epsilon, an American "honor society" of undergraduate students interested in economics founded in 1915 by John Commons.

Journal of Law and Economics  (U.S., 1958-)

  • JLawE. Journal of the Chicago Law School, the main vehicle of the "Law-and-Economics" movement of the Chicago School

Cahiers économiques de Bruxelles (Belgium, 1958-)

Problems of Economics (Soviet Union, 1958-)

  • Provides English translations of economics articles by Soviet economists.  Since 1992, it has been retitled Problems of Economic Transition

New Left Review (Britain, 1960-)*#

  • NLR. Accessible journal of left-wing theory, formed by the merger of Universities & Left Review and the New Reasoner

International Economic Review (International, 1960-)

  • IER. Published jointly by the University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University. Originally devised to bring foreign economics to the attention of the Anglo-American world.  In its earlier years, focused on translated articles.  Became a more theoretically-oriented journal and  relieved some of the backlog of Econometrica and RES.   

Western Economic Journal (U.S., 1962)

Australian Economic Papers (Australia, 1962-)

  • AustralianEP.

Cuadernos de economía (Chile, 1963-)

Journal of Development Studies (Britain, 1964)

  • JDS.

Matekon (Soviet Union, 1964-)

  • For a while, known as Mathematical Studies in Economics and Statistics in the U.S.S.R and Eastern Europe, Matekon provides translations of economics articles published originally in Russian and the Eastern European languages.  An important channel for communication of Soviet economists to the West. 

Journal of Economic Issues (U.S., 1967-)

  • JEI. Perhaps the first self-consciously heterodox journal.  Today, the leading journal of economists in the American Institutionalist tradition.

Economies et sociétés (France, 1967-)

Kredit und Kapital (Germany, 1968-)

  • KuK. Accessible German journal dedicated especially to banking theory and policy.  Welcoming of practitioners.

The Flood: Specialization and Heterodoxy (c.1970 - Now)

The rise in the number of institutionally-backed economics journals did not serve the exploding economics profession too well.  Although they relieved a good amount of backlog that had been accumulating, they were not specialist journals.  But academic economists are specialized people.  That means that the average subscriber to, say, the Bohemian Journal of Economics would have to consider himself extraordinarily lucky to find one or two articles of interest in every journal issue he received. 

A specialized journal would be nice, they thought, but which institution is to provide it?  The easiest way was to form haphazard "societies" in a specialized academic subject and then hire a commercial publishing house to publish the "society's" journal.  Sometimes, one can dispense with the society altogether.  It was in some version of this that specialized journals -- such as the Journal of Economic Theory, the Journal of Public Economics, the Journal of Monetary Economics, etc. -- emerged.  

Many of these were highly successful, climbing quickly in prestige over the older institution-backed journals. The need was certainly there for many of them.  But by the late 1980s, and certainly the mid-1990s, many people argue that things have gone perhaps a bit overboard (not only in economics, but in many other fields as well).  

The big commercial publishing houses (you know who they are!) caught on to the game quickly enough.  Whatever journal they put out, there is always a demand (i.e. at worst, there are the university libraries who are generally "forced" to buy them).  Similarly, there is always a supply (economists, pressed by "publish-or-perish", always have articles).  And finding an editor is always easy (editorship of a journal brings professional prestige to an individual in the academic rat race -- a slight variation on the institutional prestige theme we talked about earlier).  So, in recent years, the publishing houses have been pushing journals like there was no tomorrow:  every topic and sub-topic and sub-sub-topic has its own journal today.  

It is easy to see why this has gone too far: most are unaffordable to individuals (exorbitant prices are set to gouge libraries), quality per issue has declined (the few good articles in a field end up being spread too thin among the many competing journals) and, some claim, the situation has degenerated to the point where the publishing houses will gleefully put out "personal boutique" journals -- where little beyond the editor's own vanity or bid for self-promotion justifies its existence.  Currently, economics is the discipline with the largest number of new journals every year.

Specialization, of course, breeds blinders -- so demand for a second type of journal -- the "survey" journal -- emerged in this period.  These journals collect and publish comprehensive and easy-to-understand surveys of the state of the art in various topics and fields.  Such surveys used to be occasionally published by the conventional journals such as Econometrica, as a way for specialists in other fields to have an idea what was going on somewhere else.   However, the degree of specialization in economics is such that more surveys are necessary, and ever more often, and ever simpler. There are now a handful of journals, such as the Journal of Economic Literature and the Journal of Economic Perspectives, dedicated exclusively to surveys. 

[It has been speculated that the old general-purpose conventional journals might eventually be done in by this trend: economists today are happy enough to concentrate all their journal-reading on their own specialized sub-sub-field journal plus one or two general survey journals.]

A third type of journal emerged in this period: the heterodox journal, such as the Review of Radical Political Economy, the Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, the Cambridge Journal of Economics, etc. These were established as non-mainstream economists were increasingly finding themselves blocked out of the existing journals.   Consequently, they organized themselves and formed journals dedicated to their own school-of-thought -- not unlike the mathematical economists did with Econometrica and RES in the early 1930s.  However, we should emphasize that the heterodox journal arose not out of a bid by a school of thought for institutional legitimacy. Indeed, some claim that quite the reverse happened: the worst thing for a heterodox school of thought to do is to "ghettoize" itself out of the mainstream with a journal (there is an exception to this rule: the early prestige of the JPE ensured that the Chicago School could ghettoize itself without appearing to actually do so).  Rather,  the emergence of the heterodox journal was an indicator of how bad things really got in terms of editorial decisions of the conventional journals.

The following journals were established in this period.  We cannot hope to list all the publishing house journals here so the list just captures a few of the (more legitimate) earlier ones.  As most have self-explanatory titles, we do not bother to give details.

Journal of Economic Theory (International, 1969-) 

  • JET. Perhaps the first journal published by a commercial publishing powerhouse -- signalling the flood in specialized journals that was to follow.  Edited for a long time by Karl Shell, it has become one of the top journals in economics, particularly nice for its readability (relative to some un-named competitors).

Journal of Economic Literature (U.S., 1969-)

  • JEL. Set up by the American Economic Association as an annotated bibliography of concurrently published papers in other journals and for book reviews, it is also the place where one can find well-written, comprehensive surveys of various topics in economics. 

Review of Radical Political Economy (US, 1969-)

  • RRPE. Neo-Marxian journal, published by the Union of Radical Political Economy.

European Economic Review (Europe, 1969-)

  • Euro ER. Journal of the European Economic Association (founded 1986), a concerted (continental) European answer to Yankee imperialism.  Particularly rich in conveying economics of non-Anglo-American centers. 

History of Political Economy  (International, 1969-)

Journal of Money, Credit and Banking (US, 1969-)

  • JMCB.

Brookings Papers on Economic Activity  (U.S. 1970-)

  • BPEA. Published by the Brookings Institution, a leftish American think-tank, the BPEA offers relatively accessible, policy-oriented, high-quality (but lengthy) macroeconomics papers.  A good place to check "where the wind is blowing" in macroeconomic policy.  

Bell Journal of Economics (US, 1970-, turned into RAND Journal of Economics, 1984-)

  • Bell JE. Originally published by Bell Labs, a private research institute.  High-quality papers, mostly in economic theory.

Journal of International Economics (International, 1971-)

  • JIntE.

International Journal of Game Theory (International, 1971)

  • IJGT.

Journal of Public Economics (International, 1972-)

  • JPubE.

Journal of Monetary Economics (International, 1972-)

  • JME.

Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy (U.S., 1973-)

  • CROCH. Began as an intermittently published series associated with the Journal of Monetary Economics, and originally edited by Karl Brunner.  For a while, it served as another major outlet of Monetarist macroeconomics. 

Journal of Econometrics (International, 1973-)

  • J of Econometrics.

Atlantic Economic Journal (International, 1973-)

Eastern Economic Journal  (U.S., 1974-)

  • EEJ or Eastern EJ. Journal of the Eastern Economic Association, a regional organization particularly oriented towards university teaching. 

Journal of Mathematical Economics (International, 1974-)

  • JMathE.

Journal of Development Economics (International, 1974-)

  • JDevE.

Cahiers d'économie politique (France, 1974-)

  • Cahiers EP. French heterodox journal with historical-doctrinal orientation.

Cambridge Journal of Economics (Britain, 1977-)

Economics Letters (International, 1978-)

  • Econ Letters Begun in explicit emulation of Physics Letters, this journal is composed of very short articles (two-three pages at most), each basically conveying quickly and efficiently a curious or interesting result (often found in the process of other, longer research). 

Journal of Post Keynesian Economics (US, 1978-)

Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control (International, 1979)

  • JEDC. Journal specializing in dynamic optimization methods and more general computational methods.

Mathematical Social Sciences (International, 1981-)

  • MSS. Interdisciplinary -- but mathematically-oriented -- journal.

Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization (International, 1980)

  • JEBO. Where the complexity people live.

The New Palgrave: A dictionary of economics (International, 1987)

  • Monumental encyclopedia of economics edited by John Eatwell, Murray Milgate and Peter Newman.   Not a journal, of course, but such a great repository of essay-length articles that it deserves a place in this list.  

Journal of Economic Perspectives (US, 1987-)

  • JEP. Wildly popular publication of the American Economic Association, with brief, very accessible surveys of research done in other fields.  Particularly useful for teachers and students.

Review of Austrian Economics (International, 1987)

Economic Systems Research (International, 1988-)

  • ESR. Journal of the International Input-Output Association.

Games and Economic Behavior (International, 1989-)

  • Games EB.

Review of Political Economy (US, 1989-)

Structural Change and Economic Dynamics (International, 1990-)

Journal of Evolutionary Economics (International, 1990-)

The American Prospect (U.S., 1990-)*#

  • American magazine of opinion on political and economic matters, with a liberal (left-wing) leaning


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