By Justin Chin

panelists at a table
From left, panelists Andrew Foster (Brown University), Tavneet Suri (MIT), Melissa Dell (Harvard University), Ben Olken (MIT), and Rema Hanna (HKS)

CID faculty affiliates at Harvard University and colleagues describe the review and publishing process for top-ranked development economics research journals with tips and editors’ insights.

On November 4, 2023, the Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard University hosted the North East Universities Development Economics Consortium (NEUDC) conference, a storied fixture on the development economics calendar that has been held annually since since 1967.  Each conference welcomes hundreds of young academics looking to make their mark on the field of development economics.

At NEUDC 2023, CID introduced "Development Perspectives" sessions, where senior faculty from Harvard and beyond shared their experiences and cutting-edge research in international development.

Publishing in Economics

As PhD and graduate students complete their studies and research, they begin to enter the world of academia and submit to recognized academic journals to publish their work. They compete with not only fellow students, but also tenured academics who have already navigated the system.

During the session "Publishing in Economics," prominent faculty members Andrew Foster, Rema Hanna, Ben OlkenTavneet Suri, and Melissa Dell—serving as editors of academic journals from prestigious institutions such as Brown, MIT, and Harvard—offered their insights to students wondering how they can maximize their chances of getting published in respected development economics literature.

The selection process for academic publication is rigorous, which can often be discouraging for researchers with limited experience. Only about five to six percent of submitted works are accepted through the initial review stages from referees, with more rejections coming in the later examination rounds from editors themselves. With guidance from expert researchers and editors, prospective and junior academics are able to approach the process with more confidence.

Key Takeaways:

  • Accept that rejection is a major part of the process and understand that it is also an opportunity to learn from feedback.
  • Polish the paper until you feel it is ready to be published, but spending too much time on the finer details will not make or break a decision.
  • Draft the best paper you can within constraints.
  • Articulate the implications of your research in other fields and why it is important.
  • Demonstrate a good first impression about your research in a cover letter.

Watch the video of the session for additional tips on how to find success publishing in economics.

CID Development Perspectives: Publishing in Economics

Panelists Andrew Foster (Brown University), Tavneet Suri (MIT), Melissa Dell (Harvard University), Ben Olken (MIT), and Rema Hanna (HKS) demystify the academic publishing process.

Tune in to additional CID Development Perspectives talks by leading faculty on AI and Firms, Political Economy and Development, Social Networks, Place-based and Industrial Policies, and more.
Image Credits

Matt Teuten

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