Guidelines for referees
The Journal of Public Economic Theory (JPET) is a new journal published by Basil Blackwell beginning in January of 1999. JPET is devoted to the publication of theoretical work in all areas of public economics both to advance the theory generally, and to provide useful insights to more applied economists. We explicitly reject the propositions that good theory necessarily depends on the use of complicated mathematical tools and that the use of complicated mathematical tools necessarily means that the theory is too abstract to have any economic importance. The Journal is interested in publishing high quality papers that are creative and rigorous regardless of their technical level. If you find that a paper does not satisfy these criteria or should be rejected for some other reason, it would be helpful if you could provide the author with suggestions on how the paper could be improved and where it might be more appropriately placed.
We would also like to request your assistance in one other matter. The economics profession seems to have gotten into a bad equilibrium. On the one hand, we all complain about the inexcusable refereeing delays that we personally experience. On the other hand, the fact that so many of us have cause for complaint implies that a great many of us must be lax in our own refereeing duties. This is not how things are in other fields, and there is no reason it should be this way in ours. If public finance economists can’t solve this free riding problem then no one can. Thus, we earnestly request that you return your reports within eight weeks. We promise that in return, we will do our utmost to see that you are shown the same courtesy should you ever submit a paper to JPET. When you have finished your report, please send it to the associate editor who first contacted you (not to either of the editors). Thank you very much for agreeing to referee for the Journal of Public Economic Theory.