Notes for Contributors

1. Scope of the Journal

Articles published in the Journal of Institutional Economics (JOIE) are explicitly about institutions. The journal is devoted to the study of the nature, role and evolution of institutions in the economy, including firms, states, markets, money, households and other vital institutions and organizations. It welcomes scholarly contributions by all schools of thought and relevant disciplines that can contribute to our understanding of the features, development and functions of real world economic institutions and organizations.

In addition, preference is given to essays that engage in empirically-informed, existing debates about the nature, role or evolution of institutions. This includes analytical case studies of real institutions, which can inform our theoretical understanding as well as provide important empirical evidence. We shall also consider articles that open up new vistas concerning our understanding of institutions, as long as they seem likely to be the subject of future discussion in JOIE. For these reasons, authors should have some familiarity with the past contents of JOIE.

JOIE publishes book review articles, but not shorter reviews. If you wish to publish a book review article, focusing on 1-3 recently published books of relevance to the journal, then please contact the Editor-in-Chief. Review copies will be requested from the publisher(s). Book review articles will be refereed like normal article submissions to JOIE. 

2. Basic Requirements

All submissions must be in English. All papers must be submitted via the following website: Spelling, punctuation and grammar may be in US or UK English. Please submit your document in Microsoft Word. 

At least initially, the names of the author(s), institutional affiliation(s) and other information that identifies authorship should not appear in the paper itself. 

In the main document, below the title of the submission, please place the abstract (maximum 200 words). This should be followed by the main body of the article. 

Normally, research articles must be no longer than 10,000 words, inclusive of abstract, references, footnotes, tables, figures and references. Calculate the word equivalent for tables and figures by first estimating the number of pages to be occupied by the tables or figures, and then adding 500 words per page.

In special cases, such as an extended review or survey article, this inclusive limit may be extended from 10,000 to 12,000 words. 

Material not intended for publication, such datasets or appendices, should not be submitted with the article. Such supplementary material will not be refereed. If you wish to make some supplementary material available to reviewers or other readers, then please post it on your own website, or on the website of your institution, or elsewhere. You may then refer to this supplementary material (and provide links) in the submitted article.

A declaration of the total word count (including abstract, footnotes, references, tables and figures) must accompany each submission.

Footnotes should be kept to a minimum and the Harvard referencing system should be used.

Papers with some formal content will be considered if it is fully explained for a general readership, the mathematics is consigned as much as possible to appendices, the assumptions have sufficient grounding in reality, and the paper enhances our understanding of past, present, or feasible socio-economic institutions. JOIE is not interested in the advancement of formal or econometric technique for their own sake.

See also section 5 with “Further Guidelines” below. 

Submission of a paper will be held to imply that it contains original unpublished work and is not being submitted for publication elsewhere. 

3. Types of Submission

Most submissions to JOIE are designated as ‘Research Articles’. But there are other types of submission and the full list of possibilities is as follows:

  • Research Article. These are normally refereed.
  • Research Note. These are shorter research notes, typically of 4000 words or less.
  • Review Article. These articles are extended reviews of one to three books on institutional themes. Please consult with the Editor in Chief before submitting review articles. Review articles are refereed, like normal research articles.
  • Comment. A comment is a direct response to a research article published in JOIE, typically 4000 words or less. Please consult with the Editor in Chief before submitting a comment.
  • Introduction. These introduce JOIE special issues or symposia. Proposals for special issues or symposia are agreed in advance by the JOIE editors.
  • Fragment. A fragment reprints, with a short introduction, material of interest on institutions from the past. Please consult with the Editor in Chief before submitting a fragment.

4. Procedure after Submission

The JOIE Editors will preliminarily assess all papers. A paper will be rejected at this first stage if it does not comply with the above guidelines, is evidently of insufficient academic quality or interest, or lies outside the scope of the journal. If a paper passes this preliminarily assessment, then normally it will be sent out to referees. The five editors will make the final decision, taking account of the referee’s reports. The decision will normally be either 

(a) acceptance of the paper without further revision, 

(b) acceptance subject to minor editorial revisions to be checked by the editor-in-chief, 

(c) conditional acceptance of the paper subject to revisions to be checked by the editors and not by referees, 

(d) a request for a substantially revised version that will be sent out again to the referees, or 

(e) rejection without the option of resubmission. 

With (b) or (c) the authors are asked to comply with the format and house style of JOIE, as exhibited in issues of the journal. 

5. Further Guidelines

Conceptual precision is no less important than mathematical precision. Furthermore, scholars working in the area come from different disciplines and schools of thought, so it is vital to give words clear meanings. 

Terms that carry multiple meanings and are especially plagued by imprecision or ambiguity include: (a) institution, (b) formal, (c) informal, (d) culture, (e) routine, (f) habit, (g) neoclassical, (h) neoliberal, (i) rational, (j) capitalism, (k) methodological individualism, (l) uncertainty, (m) determinism, (n) embedded, (o) evolutionary, plus many more. When using such terms, authors must make it clear what they mean. Do not assume that there is a consensus on their meaning, or that leading scholars in this area are always precise and clear.

Bad or unclear English can annoy referees. Improve your chances of a favourable outcome by paying attention to these matters before submission. One of our editors, Richard Langlois, has an excellent Web page on style. Click HERE

A good abstract signals a well-structured and well-focused paper. For a good guide to writing abstracts click HERE

JOIE Authors are invited to submit an evaluation of their experience with this journal to Journal Reviewer.