The first four facts:
- Annual submissions to the top-5 journals nearly doubled from 1990 to 2012.
- The total number of articles published in these journals actually declined from 400 per year in the late 1970s to 300 per year most recently. As a result, the acceptance rate has fallen from 15% to 6%, with potential implications for the career progression of young scholars.
- One journal, the American Economic Review, now accounts for 40% of top-5 publications, up from 25% in the 1970s.
- Recently published papers are on average 3 times longer than they were in the 1970s, contributing to the relative shortage of journal space.
In another paper, they look at the impact of reducing page limits in the AER and JEEA. AER submission stay steady, but not so at the JEEA. Their conclusion: “a top-5 journal has substantial monopoly power over submissions, unlike a journal one notch below.”