Categories: News, Newsletter, Newsletter Issue 2018:4

An interview with the new editorial board of the American Journal of Health Economics

By David Slusky

Why did you want to / agree to be an AJHE editor?

Tom Buchmueller [AJHE Editor-in-Chief]: I have been a big fan of the journal since it was established. Given how rapidly the field has grown in size and prominence, there was definitely room in the market for another high quality health economics journal. My impression of the journal became even more positive when I submitted a paper (co-authored with Lara Shore-Sheppard and Sean Orzol). Frank Sloan was a very hands-on, constructive editor and the whole process was very author-friendly.

Marianne Bitler [AJHE Co-Editor]: For me, I felt that it was a chance to try to raise the profile of a relatively new society journal which Frank Sloan had already made great advances with while also exposing myself to a bigger share of health economics papers among those that I handle as an editor.

Mireille Jacobson [AJHE Co-Editor]: I am excited to work with such a great group of editors and to see so many interesting health economics papers out there.

Keith Marzilli Ericson [AJHE Co-Editor]: I’m interested in helping shape the direction that health economics is going as a field. Editors not only select papers, but also provide authors—especially junior authors—with advice. In my career, I’ve appreciated the detailed feedback I’d get from some journal editors on my papers, and I want to help pass that along to others.

How do you think this will be different than previous editor experiences?

Marianne: I think it will be different from some of my previous editorial experience because that has been at broader journals, and was less focused on health economics than this will be.

Keith: I think there are opportunities to experiment with new innovations in how we publish. Our editorial mandate is not merely to do what we’ve been doing (and do it well), but experiment with new ideas. For instance, we’ve experimented with a policy where authors can submit reviewer reports and editor decision letters from other journals for expedited review.

Where do you see AJHE in 5 years?

Marianne: I hope we have raised the profile of AJHE.

Tom: I would like AJHE to be considered the top journal in the field.

Keith: We are aiming to be the top health economics field journal.

What kinds of articles has AJHE lacked to far that you’d love to see?

Marianne: I would like to see more papers about non-US settings.

Tom: I agree with Marianne: I want to be able to attract the best health economics papers from all over, not just the US. The key word in our title is Economics, not American. If a paper is on an important topic, is strongly grounded in economic theory and uses rigorous econometric methods, it is suitable for the AJHE.

Keith: I don’t think the AJHE has been lacking, but I’m always excited to see papers related to my interests in healthcare markets and connections between behavioral economics and health.

What are you particularly proud of about AJHE’s peer review and editorial process?

Tom: Frank and our managing editor, Lindsey Kozecke, did an excellent job of managing the process to ensure a very rapid turn-around. We are committed to maintaining that great record.

Keith: We’ve inherited a well-functioning machine from Frank and Lindsey. I think we are continuing to provide fast and high-quality feedback to authors.

What do you think are the big challenges/problems in econ journal publishing? What will AJHE do to combat them?

Mirielle: We are all committed to further raising the profile of the journal. There are a few ways we are doing this — ensuring a quick turnaround, maintaining high quality standards, calling on a broad and diverse set of reviewers and using social media to highlight publications. There’s so much great work in health economics right now and it’s great to play a role in helping to get it out there.

Keith: Journals serve two functions: dissemination of research and certification of quality. In economics in particular, the dissemination function is declining in importance: given publication lags, by the time a paper appears in a journal, it has often been circulated as a working paper and seen by many audiences for years. AJHE will continue to play an important role in dissemination, particularly for authors who are less well-established in the field: our publication and social media reach will help draw attention to high quality work. Speculatively, I’ve observed that many health econ papers are not openly available as a working paper when they are submitted. Some of this is a result of different norms in the medical literature. Papers that are a good fit for the AJHE are typically not going to be a good fit for a medical journal, and it may be helpful to be explicit: we encourage pre-publication circulation of working papers if you are targeting AJHE.

Tom Buchmueller is the Waldo O. Hildebrand Professor of Risk Management and Insurance and the Chair of Business Economics and Public Policy at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

Marianne Bitler is a Professor of Economics at the University of California, Davis.

Mireille Jacobson is an Associate Professor of Gerontology at The Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California.

Keith Marzilli Ericson is an Associate Professor of Markets, Public Policy, and Law at Questrom School of Business at Boston University.

David Slusky is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Kansas and the Editor of ASHEcon’s newsletter.