A Ranking of Journals in Economics and Related Fields
Vienna Graduate School of Finance and Institute for Advanced Studies
Abstract. This paper presents an update of the ranking of economics journals by the invariant method, as introduced by Palacio-Huerta and Volij, with a broader sample of journals. By comparison with the two other most prominent rankings, it also proposes a list of ‘target journals’, ranked according to their quality, as a standard for the field of economics. JEL classification: A12, A14. Keywords: Journal ranking; economics journals; business administration journals; finance journals, citations.
The ranking of professional journals in economics has attracted growing ´ interest during the past decade (see Kalaitzidakis et al., 2003; Koczy and Strobel, 2007; Kodrzycki and Yu, 2006; Laband and Piette, 1994; Liebowitz and Palmer, 1984; Liner and Amin, 2006; Palacio-Huerta and Volij, 2004). Journal rankings have been used to evaluate the research performance of economics departments (e.g. Bommer and Ursprung, 1998; Combes and Linnemer, 2003; Lubrano et al., 2003) and of individual economists (e.g. ´ Coupe, 2003). They provide ‘objective’ information about the quality of publications in a world where academic publications have reached an overwhelming extent and variety. While half a century ago a well-trained economist may have comprehended all key developments in economics at large, today it is difficult to follow even the pace of subfields. Thus, the judgment by an individual academic is accurate only in so far as it concerns her or his own field of specialization. Still, hiring, tenure, promotion and funding decisions should ideally be based on judgments of scientific quality, even when expertise about the specializations of all candidates is unavailable. For that reason economists have turned to journal rankings as a substitute for a direct judgment of scientific quality of individuals and institutions. r 2008 The Author ¨ Journal Compilation r Verein fur Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2008, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.
Ranking of Journals This comes with virtues and vices. An advantage is certainly that something as elusive as ‘scientific quality’ is not left any more to hearsay and rumors. Rankings also constrain the verdicts by influential scientists, who are sometimes subject to perverse incentives. By this token they foster the development of a scientific standard and provide a rough indicator of scientific quality for politics, administration and the general public. As for the scientific community, rankings can correct misperceptions, both with respect to journal quality and the importance of fields. Narrow field definitions are sometimes used to insulate against judgments of scientific quality. By defining my field as ‘papers written by myself ’ I can ensure to be on top of my field. But rankings reveal how important my field is compared with others, provided the sample is large enough. An advantage of the ranking presented in this paper is that it covers a broad range of journals and, thereby, sheds light on how important the different fields are. Most importantly, rankings provide objective information on journal quality. This puts into perspective judgments of journal quality that are governed by the abilities, preferences and publications of incumbents. Examples of such ratings abound. Take, for instance, the Journal Rating that the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration1 had in place until the end of 2007. It puts Econometrica – the number 1 journal in the current ranking – into the same basket (called Aþ) as the Journal of Marketing Research (number 43 in the current ranking), Administrative Science Quarterly (number 73 in the current ranking), Regional Science and Urban Economics (number 84 in the current ranking) or...