Low-grade journal rankings are failing economics

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The Aus­tralian Busi­ness Deans Coun­cil has just released its new rank­ing of the qual­i­ty of aca­d­e­m­ic jour­nals in eco­nom­ics. This list­ing in turn is used to rank the qual­i­ty of aca­d­e­m­ic research.

A pub­li­ca­tion in a top-ranked A* jour­nal earns seri­ous rev­enue for the uni­ver­si­ty where an aca­d­e­m­ic is employed, and seri­ous brown­ie points for the aca­d­e­m­ic in terms of career and pro­mo­tion prospects. A pub­li­ca­tion in a B‑graded jour­nal is worth much less; a C‑graded is effec­tive­ly “thanks for try­ing”. The many ungrad­ed jour­nals are ignored com­plete­ly. So the rank­ings are a big deal for aca­d­e­mics, and they strong­ly affect the direc­tion of research by econ­o­mists.

Giv­en that main­stream econ­o­mists com­plete­ly failed to antic­i­pate the glob­al eco­nom­ic cri­sis that began in 2007-08, you’d imag­ine that this result­ed in jour­nals that pub­lish non-main­stream econ­o­mists being more high­ly ranked, wouldn’t you? After all, while main­stream jour­nals like theAmer­i­can Eco­nom­ic Review were awash with arti­cles dis­cussing the won­ders of the ‘Great Mod­er­a­tion’ and pre­dict­ing con­tin­u­ing sta­bil­i­ty ahead – even after the cri­sis had begun – non-main­stream jour­nals like the Jour­nal of Post Key­ne­sian Eco­nom­ics and the Jour­nal of Eco­nom­ic Issues had con­tri­bu­tions from authors like the late Wynne God­ley warn­ing that it was all going to end in tears – as it duly did. Sure­ly then, non-main­stream jour­nals deserve to be ranked more high­ly.

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About Steve Keen

I am Professor of Economics and Head of Economics, History and Politics at Kingston University London, and a long time critic of conventional economic thought. As well as attacking mainstream thought in Debunking Economics, I am also developing an alternative dynamic approach to economic modelling. The key issue I am tackling here is the prospect for a debt-deflation on the back of the enormous private debts accumulated globally, and our very low rate of inflation.