Economics Journals: A Chronological Account
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
Key: * - "Light", "political" or "news-oriented" economics
# - not
principally dedicated to economics; only occasionally publishes economics
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)
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
online at ILEJ.
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 Literary Periodicals of Morals & Manners: Appendix C. by
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:
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:
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,
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!).
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
contemporary dramatic and literary criticism, like the early 18th
century light magazines Mercure de France or the Tatler and
what the Encyclopèdie specifically taught was that the public was willing
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,
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
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.
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
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).
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"
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 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
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
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
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.
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
Censeur, (France 1814-15)#
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
Censeur Européen ou Examen de diverses questions de droit public et de divers,
- Re-founded Liberal journal edited
from abroad by Charles Dunoyer.
Archived at Gallica.
Revue Encyclopédique (France, 1819-1835)#
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.
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
for Town and Country
- 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
Journal of the (Royal) Statistical Society of London
- J of SSL and JRSS. Probably the first serious English-language scientific journal. The
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 JRSS.
Jevons 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.
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. 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
Zeitung für Politik, Handel und Gewerbe
- 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-?)*
Zeitung: Organ für demokratie (Germany, 1848-1849)
- Neue Rhein Zeit. Attempted resurrection of Rheinische Zeitung by Marx.
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.
Anglo-American universities, which still seemed like "young
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,
- 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-)
Economist ((Netherlands, 1852-)
- De Econ. Journal published by the Royal Netherlands Economic Association.
Monthly (U.S., 1857-)*#
- Atlantic. Popular American magazine of opinion with occasional reflective essays on
matters of economic policy. 19th Century issues archived
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,
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
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
- 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
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
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)
Zeit: Revue des geistigen und öffentlichen Lebens
- 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)
Commonweal (Britain, 1885-1895)*#
Quarterly Journal of Economics
- 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.,
- 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
Revue d'économie politique (France, 1887-)
- REP. Major economics journal founded by Charles
(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.
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
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences (U.S., 1890-)#
Clarion (Britain, 1891-1931)*#
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.
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
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-)
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-?)
- 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.
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
online at Gallica.
Bulletin of the American Economic Association (U.S., 1908-1910)
American Economic Review
- 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
Archiv fur Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik (Germany, 1911-1923)
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
The following journals were created during this period (many
institutionally-backed journals are generalist, so we don't give details for
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)
Economics and Statistics (U.S., 1919-)
- 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
dominance in British economics.
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,
- 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
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.
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-)
School of Economic and Social Studies (Britain, 1929-)
- Manchester School or MS. Run by the University of
Lloyds Bank Review (Britain, 1930-)
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
- 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
- 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-)
Journal (U.S., 1933-)
El Trimestre Economico (Mexico, 1934-)
Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science (Canada, 1934-)
Social Research (U.S., 1934-)#
Oxford Economic Papers
- OEP. House journal of Oxford
economists. Only began being published regularly since 1949.
Economic History (U.S., 1941-)
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
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-)
Organization (US, 1947-)#
- International affairs journal. An early outlet for writings on
international economics and policy.
- 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.
- 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-)
- 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
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
Development and Cultural Change (US, 1952-)
Journal of Political Economy (Britain, 1953-)
SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics (US, 1953-)#
Staff Papers (International, 1954)
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
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,
- NLR. Accessible journal of left-wing theory, formed by the merger of Universities &
Left Review and the New Reasoner
International Economic Review
- 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.,
Economic Papers (Australia, 1962-)
Cuadernos de economía (Chile, 1963-)
Journal of Development
Studies (Britain, 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
Journal of Economic Issues
- JEI. Perhaps the first self-consciously heterodox journal. Today, the leading
journal of economists in the American
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
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
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
- 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
- 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
History of Political
Economy (International, 1969-)
Journal of Money,
Credit and Banking (US, 1969-)
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.
International Economics (International, 1971-)
International Journal of Game
Theory (International, 1971)
Public Economics (International, 1972-)
Journal of Monetary
Economics (International, 1972-)
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
Journal of Econometrics (International, 1973-)
Atlantic Economic Journal (International, 1973-)
Economic Journal (U.S., 1974-)
Mathematical Economics (International, 1974-)
Development Economics (International, 1974-)
Cahiers d'économie politique (France, 1974-)
- Cahiers EP. French heterodox journal with historical-doctrinal orientation.
Cambridge Journal of 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-)
of Economic Dynamics and Control (International, 1979)
- JEDC. Journal specializing in dynamic optimization methods and more general
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.
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
Journal of Economic Perspectives
- 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)
- ESR. Journal of the International Input-Output Association.
Games and Economic Behavior
Review of Political Economy (US, 1989-)
Structural Change and Economic
Dynamics (International, 1990-)
of Evolutionary Economics (International, 1990-)
Prospect (U.S., 1990-)*#
- American magazine of opinion on political and economic matters, with a
liberal (left-wing) leaning