My training is in another discipline but my work has brought me to the finance/fin-econ literature.

Recently, I came across a line of work (regarding Executive Compensation) where most of the authors simply stopped working on iterations of their working papers. For instance, a paper that was written in 2016 received almost 50 citations, but for some odd reason the author has moved on and not published the results, even in a lesser journal. This phenomenon was observed not only for a single author, but across several authors.

In my original discipline that I was trained in, we would simply send it off to a lesser journal if the piece were rejected by the top journals. Is there any reason why so many papers are "killed/buried" in Finance and Economics? I find this incredibly puzzling and would appreciate some insight as to why this is so common here.

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    For some odd reason, a not reviewed paper from 2016 received 50 citations. Replace odd with political, and you understand how finance/economics publication works.
    – EarlGrey
    Mar 24, 2022 at 9:49
  • Without knowing more about the specific paper, I wouldn't necessarily assume that an econ working paper from 2016 is 'abandoned'.
    – jnanin
    Mar 24, 2022 at 16:35
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    Yours doesn't sound like a statistically sufficient sample to proclaim "so many working papers"... Mar 24, 2022 at 21:54
  • Yes, it is anecdoctal and not scentific. As for "political", I was hoping that someone could shed light on the process (whether manuscripts are not double blind, for instance). Mar 28, 2022 at 0:31
  • It is fascinating indeed. There are some working papers that became a crucial part of the literature and they never see the light of a journal. I was just checking a few I've cited frequently: Calvo, Izquierdo, Talvi (2003) "Sudden stops..." has 690 citations and FS Mishkin, 2001, "The transmission mechanism...", 777 citations. These are both NBER working papers, not sure if there is indeed some revision process already in NBER documnts. Jan 16, 2023 at 5:29

1 Answer 1


For top schools, publishing in a lesser journal does not count for anything. Like, nothing at all. So if the paper has been rejected by top journals, the authours have absolutely zero incentive to invest even one minute of their time on trying to publish it in a lesser journal. So look at who the authors are ans which schools/universities they are at

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