Does paying referees expedite reviews? Results of a natural experiment

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Abstract

A natural experiment in an economics field journal afforded time-series observations on payments to referees for on-time reviews. The natural experiment yielded 15 months' worth of data with no payments and about two subsequent years of data with payments. Using refereeand manuscript-specific measures as covariates, hazard models were used to gauge the effects of payments on individual referee's review times. All models indicate statistically significant reductions in review times owing to referee payments. Reductions in review times translate into significant reductions in first-response time (FRT). Median FRT was reduced from 90 to 70 days, a 22% reduction in the presence of payments. With payments, only 1% of the FRTs exceeded six months; without payments, 16% of the FRTs exceeded six months.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)678-692
Number of pages15
JournalSouthern Economic Journal
Volume76
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 2010

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Referees
Natural experiment
Payment
Response time
Economics
Median
Hazard models
Covariates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics

Cite this

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title = "Does paying referees expedite reviews?: Results of a natural experiment",
abstract = "A natural experiment in an economics field journal afforded time-series observations on payments to referees for on-time reviews. The natural experiment yielded 15 months' worth of data with no payments and about two subsequent years of data with payments. Using refereeand manuscript-specific measures as covariates, hazard models were used to gauge the effects of payments on individual referee's review times. All models indicate statistically significant reductions in review times owing to referee payments. Reductions in review times translate into significant reductions in first-response time (FRT). Median FRT was reduced from 90 to 70 days, a 22{\%} reduction in the presence of payments. With payments, only 1{\%} of the FRTs exceeded six months; without payments, 16{\%} of the FRTs exceeded six months.",
author = "Thompson, {Gary D} and Aradhyula, {Satheesh V} and Frisvold, {George B} and Tronstad, {Russell E}",
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