Can anyone use the JEL classification system, or is it only reserved for published (scientific) papers? This is the information I got on AEA's site

''JEL Codes are used to classify articles, dissertations, books, book reviews, and working papers''.

I'm working on a university thesis related to finance, and I wanted to use the JEL classification system. Does this fall under the category 'working papers'?

  • 3
    I don't understand. What would prevent you from saying "my thesis would fall under category XYZ of the JEL classification"? Why would you need permission from anyone for that?
    – user9646
    Sep 9, 2018 at 7:42
  • A thesis would surely fall under the category of dissertations. Sep 9, 2018 at 8:28
  • @NajibIdrissi my gut feeling also says that it should be possible, however I thought maybe it was not common practice for master theses. I searched online and found that the JEL code is included in the guidelines of some universities. So I assume its fine to use the JEL code remi.bazillier.free.fr/ResearchMethodology2M2R_2016-2017.pdf hec.unil.ch/attachments/msc/stages/… emle.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/… @ astronat I thought they meant PhD dissertations with that, but not sure.
    – JohnKimble
    Sep 9, 2018 at 8:57
  • Also to get a conclusive answer, I have email AEA. If I get a reply, I will post that here. This question is on top of google, therefore the answer might help others
    – JohnKimble
    Sep 9, 2018 at 9:07
  • 1
    But why would it not possible? Who would prevent you from doing it?
    – user9646
    Sep 9, 2018 at 18:08

1 Answer 1


I asked the AEA helpdesk. This is the answer I got:

'Any work related to economics can be classified according to the JEL taxonomy. The list in that sentence is not intended to be an exhaustive enumeration of where JEL Classifications are allowed to be used.'

Therefore it's perfectly fine to use the JEL classification in a master thesis, as long as the work is related to economics.

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