Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Stepping Down

This may not be an appropriate place for this, but I think that I should make a more public announcement about this matter. I have been serving as Editor of the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization (JEBO) since August 15, 2001 (officially since 1/1/02). I sent a message several hours ago to the journal's board of editors informing them that I shall step down from this as of 1/1/11, one month from today, to be replaced by Bill Neilson of the University of Tennessee, who has edited Economic Inquiry in the past. That I would do this at this time was decided back in March, 2009, although it is only now that it is being publicly announced (to minimize "lame duckism"). The journal's publisher, Elsevier, has a policy of editors at most of their journals serving at most two terms, which in my case would have been 8 years. I was informed of this in Jan. 2009, and after discussion it was decided in March of that year that I would serve an additional year, which is now coming to an end.

I shall repeat here something that I said in my first message to the board back in August 2001 and that I shall close my final message to them after I step down next month with. It is that when I would stop being editor, if anyone were to criticize how I had performed as editor, I would much prefer that they charge me with having been too wild and heterodox rather than having turned the journal into a boring outlet for mainstream orthodoxy. I believe that I have achieved that goal, given that on another blog someone recently charged me with exactly that, making the journal too heterodox (although for anyone who has known of it from before I became editor, it has always had the reputation of being "heterodox but respectable").


media said...

i used to go to libraries before i discovered (i prefer the term invented---do we discover laws of nature, or invent them, and hence own them) and one place i'd go was the 'j' section. JET, JEBO, JEI, etc. (conlisk had a paper in jebo). jet has real short papers, abstract. jebo was all over the place. there was a nice review of krugman's book on 'the self-organizing economy'..

1. one question i'd have is 'in what sense is that heterodox?'. its not jpe, or qje, or the whose name i forget (the main one, with a red border around the titles---aer?). all the 'hype' about the 'orthodoxy' i don't get--eg nobody predicted the 'crisis'.
(i guess my view of that is today somebody took the lock off the door of my building, and given this is the holiday season, and even locals are telling people its not snitching to turn somebody in, paranoia sets in. keep hope alive.)

people who write in those journals mostly are economists. there, they don't really bother too much with predicting anything, eg applied DSCGE. but most of that stuff is implicit. didn't grandmont predict this stuff awhile back? isn't that more or less minsky? or from the subjective side, sonnenchein?
i have a paper from 84 (in a copy of that main journal) by a 'schwarz' of U wash. who discusses how a neoclassical model with one bit of imperfect information (eg a noise term) can lead to cycles, and so on. is that heterodox?

actually it appears to be is 'cognitive dissonance'. that is standard. talk left, walk right. like krugman---anti-'free traders' are lunatics in the NYTs or in SciAm ; in his own paper in JPE he shows 'under some conditions', trade increases inequality.
if you don't read the paper on the next page as yours, it doesnt exist. from quantum theory .

following conlisk and schwarz, from cognitive dissanance, one gets status.
one can think outside the box. (then figure out or decide who is in or outside it. 'the boundary of a boundary is zero'--j 'nuke em' wheeler. some go to one cofernece, while the others go to another. shall the twain ever publish his autobigoraphy?)

2. one could in a paragraph give an abstract of what has been accomplished over that period so people don't have to go back and read it except for historical purposes or to mine for things people missed. (like chandresekhar reading newton. i tried reading hamilton since the public library had the book from the 1860s. bag it.) )
alot of these journals are highly redundant, but i guess there is a reason. they still teach arithmatic when i have references on that which go back at least to the 70's. if we are to make the same mistakes, we must first learn them. 'if there is one thing we learn from history is that we don't learn from history' (hegel).

i also wonder whether journals or the press are 'dead'. are filters reliable? worth the cost? or maybe there should be a universal right to health care, as well as for sitting on the board of academic journals and major corporations and collecting the appropriate salary. ( beats safeway. like the financial industry, which benefits us all by making sure everyone from anarchists to al qaeda has internet acess, the university-corporate connection helps graduates get appropriate skills to produce loot . )

i like hos these comments invite you to 'choose an identity'. free to choose, born to lo(o)se. said...

I will only address the matters pertaining to JEBO and not the broader questions. So, JEBO certainly varies from these others in a variety of ways, although we have certainly published many papers that are not all that unconventional. However, one area we have published near zero in is papers using DSGE, either implicity or explicitly, and I have publicly criticized that approach in many venues. When I was "interviewed" by my predecessor regarding succession, the one question that I felt he really cared about (and could have sunk me) was whether or not I was a "Lucasian," with the L word said with evident loathing. Fortunately, I was able to reply that I was not then, and never had been, one of those.

Indeed, regarding the crisis, JEBO has been one of the few journals that published papers prior to the crisis that were relevant to it, if not outright forecasting it. We published lots of heterodox or non-orthodox papers on financial markets, with crashes and all that stuff (and I have written such papers myself, and have been publicly identified by some people as one of those who "called the crisis").

In this regard, I would note that we have published papers by non-economists, particularly by econophysicists on financial markets. One major one in July of this year was by the physicist, Didier Sornette, with a bunch of coauthors, reporting on a very non-standard model that predicted the peak of the Chinese stock bubble in 2009 to within days, although I personally have some problems with their methodology.

Brenda Rosser said...

I am sorry to say that I have been generally unable to access material from JEBO due to cost constraints and also because the library does not accommodate ready access to this type of (specialised) publication.

I am aware that there are big changes afoot in the publishing industry as a whole. The Murdoch family, for instance, has been quite upfront about its need to engage in new manoeuvres to regain control of the news.

So I was concerned to read the following:

"In July 2006, Dezenhall (the founder and President of Dezenhall Resources which designs aggressive public relations campaigns to attack or "counter" progressive groups.) "spoke to employees from Elsevier, Wiley and the American Chemical Society at a meeting arranged in July [2006] by the Association of American Publishers," ... The publishers were seeking to counter perceived economic threats from open-access journals and public databases. In an email leaked to Nature, Dezenhall suggested that the publishers "focus on simple messages, such as 'Public access equals government censorship.' He hinted that the publishers should attempt to equate traditional publishing models with peer review, and 'paint a picture of what the world would look like without peer-reviewed articles.'"[5] These strategies appear to have been adopted by the AAP front group, the Partnership for Research Integrity in Science & Medicine...."

From: Eric Dezenhall

I don't know how the Amsterdam based company Elsevier responded to this talk. I am, however, personally worried about the widespread political drift to shut down web sites and the open discussion on politically sensitive topics. said...

Elsevier probably owns or oversees more academic journals than any other publisher in the world, over 1000. Its pricing and other policies have long been controversial, although I can attest that certain unpleasant practices they used to engage in ceased after some personnel changes some years ago (for an example, google Vincent Crawford's webpage and go to the top link under his "Miscellany" section). When I first started editing JEBO I ran into a book publisher friend of mine and when I told him what I was doing he said, "Oh, working for the Evil Empire, are you?"