We cannot pre-review papers. Only papers submitted formally will be considered. Once a submission has been made the Editor will reply with an electronic message that acknowledges receipt of the manuscript. After author membership is confirmed and the manuscript is checked for compatibility with our instructions (as described in the submission instructions), the review process will begin and a second electronic message will be sent to the corresponding author indicating the manuscript number (MS#) assigned to it. This number should be cited in all future correspondence.
Most, but not all, papers are sent to one or more outside referees, one of whom is often an Associate Editor of the journal. These Associate Editors are leading economists who have been kind enough to agree to referee a large number of papers for us in a timely manner; we are very grateful for their help and try to use it wisely. We also try to be considerate of all of those who donate their time to referee papers for the journal. Thus, referees are instructed that we do not expect them to try to decipher poorly prepared manuscripts; a submission may be rejected solely because typographical errors and imprecise definitions make it hard to understand.
The desire to economize on scarce refereeing resources is the main reason that the Coeditor in charge will sometimes choose to reject a paper without calling on outside referees. This may happen if the paper has an obvious mistake, or is so poorly written that its correctness cannot be determined; it can also occur when the paper is both correct and clear, but seems inappropriate for this journal for various reasons. In such cases, the best policy for all concerned is that the paper be returned to the author(s) as quickly as possible.
Beyond ensuring that published papers are novel, important, and correct, the editorial staff would also like them to appear in a timely fashion. Usually, we aim to complete the review process within four to five months, although some papers may take longer. (We attempt to send out decisions on papers that are rejected without review within a couple of weeks.). We welcome reminders and complaints from authors who experience a long delay.
Under current practice, your referee report and cover letter would remain in the editorial system and future Co-Editors may have access to them. Co-Editors treat all reports and cover letters confidentially. The referee names and cover letters are never shared (e.g. with authors, other referees, or Associate Editors). Submission and associated records (e.g. referee assignments) are also not available to Co-Editors who have a conflict of interest (e.g. same institution, recent coauthor, recent student).