Explaining the inability of economists to practice what they preach: The funding of the American Economic Review with author charges

Thomas David Scheiding, Elizabethtown College


The reader subscription pricing mechanism is the dominant method by which the publication of scholarly journals in economics is funded. This occurs despite the fact that the use of an author charge pricing mechanism, when used in conjunction with a reader charge pricing mechanism, is described in the neoclassical economics literature as a more efficient method for financing journals. The division between the actual financing of economics journals and the theoretical understanding of how journals should be financed highlights deficiencies within the neoclassical economists' understanding of the financing of scholarly journals. In this paper I discuss this divergence in theory and practice in how economists finance their scholarly communication process and the brief attempt by some neoclassical economists to bridge this divide. © 2009 Taylor & Francis.