Dec 31, 2021
I am asking that you write a referee report for two papers assigned to each sessions. There are many guidelines written by editors, e.g., https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=222 , and not every editor wants the same kind of report. However, the ones I would like to see should be structured as follows:
Summary Of The Paper
Think 100-200 words. The editor needs to understand what the paper does.
Your Assessment Of The Paper
Think 50-100 words.
This part should end with a clear recommendation: Revise&Resubmit, Accept, or Reject. Your opinion should not be editorial (e.g., on whether you like what the paper finds or whether you think it is important), but on whether it is clear, sensible, and interesting in its hypothesis and execution. However, if the paper seems important enough, you may decide it is interesting even if the current execution falls short and request a different execution.
Use the golden rule. Be fair. See not just the bad, but also the promise in the paper. The authors spent a year or more working on the subject. They deserve a fair assessment.
(In the real world, do not assume you were chosen because the editor wants to accept or reject the paper.)
Specific Discussion of Points For Both Editor and Author
The rest of this outline is about this point.
Are there any essential flaws with the hypothesis? Explain.
Are there any essential flaws with the execution? Explain.
If so, can either be remedied? Explain.
- Is the analysis interesting only if the results go one particular way?
- If they are non-results, is it due to obvious lack of power?
- How economically significant are the results?
- Is the presentation honest or biased? If biased, is this hidden and devious, or more a difference of opinion?
Specific Discussion of Points For Author Only
- e.g., improvements of specifications