JEL Codes: What Do They Mean and Are They Used Consistently?

24 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2015 Last revised: 4 Feb 2016

See all articles by Lea-Rachel D. Kosnik

Lea-Rachel D. Kosnik

University of Missouri at Saint Louis - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 25, 2016

Abstract

The use and prevalence of JEL code categorization is wide in the field of economics, but what do JEL code classifications actually tell us? And are they used with consistency by academics in the field? Utilizing a dataset of articles published in the American Economic Review from 1990-2008, we investigate whether there is heterogeneity in JEL codes assignments between authors and editors. We find that there is. A secondary goal of this paper is to explore overall thematic trends in JEL code usage over the past four and a half decades. One result is that JEL category M: Business Economics, in particular, appears to be thematically and spatially distinct from much of the rest of the published literature in the top general interest journals in the field.

Keywords: text analysis, JEL code, economics research, economics literature, thematic analysis

JEL Classification: A1, B0

Suggested Citation

Kosnik, Lea-Rachel D., JEL Codes: What Do They Mean and Are They Used Consistently? (January 25, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2697795 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2697795

Lea-Rachel D. Kosnik (Contact Author)

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