Disclosure Policy 

This policy substantively follows that adopted on 5 January 2012 by the American Economic Association.  

WEAI urges its members and other economists to apply the following principles in scholarly journals, working papers, conference papers and presentations, op-ed pieces, newspaper and magazine columns, radio and television commentaries, as well as in testimony before federal and state legislative committees and other agencies. 

Submissions to the WEAI journals must conform to the WEAI Disclosure Policy which states: 

  1. Every submitted article should state the sources of financial support for the particular research it describes. If none, that fact must be stated. 
  2. Each author of a submitted article should identify each interested party from whom he or she has received significant financial support, summing to at least $10,000 in the past three years, in the form of consultant fees, retainers, grants and the like. The disclosure requirement also includes in-kind support, such as providing access to data. If the support in question comes with a non-disclosure obligation, that fact should be stated, along with as much information as the obligation permits. If there are no such sources of funds, that fact must be stated explicitly. An “interested” party is any individual, group, or organization that has a financial, ideological, or political stake related to the article. 
  3. Each author should disclose any paid or unpaid positions as officer, director, or board member of relevant non-profit organizations or profit-making entities. A “relevant” organization is one whose policy positions, goals, or financial interests relate to the article. 
  4. The disclosures required above apply to any close relative or partner of any author. 
  5. Each author should disclose if another party had the right to review the paper prior to its circulation. 
  6. For published articles, information on relevant potential conflicts of interest will be made available to the public. 

When submitting a paper, the authors must complete an “Original Article Disclosure Statement” that when completed will be uploaded to the online submission system (download fillable PDF form, and open in Acrobat to digitally sign). If the paper involves several coauthors, each coauthor should submit a separate disclosure statement. Note: The disclosure statement should be included even if the authors have nothing to disclose; this fact must be explicitly stated.

For papers accepted for publication, disclosure will take two forms: If the disclosure statement is brief, it will be included in the “acknowledgments” footnote. If the disclosure statement is longer, then disclosure will have two parts: (i) a brief statement summarizing potential conflicts of interest that will be included in the “acknowledgments” footnote; (ii) a more detailed description of the activities and relationships that are the source of a potential conflict of interest. This more detailed account will be available to the public, but only electronically, on the journal’s website. The “acknowledgments” footnote will include a pointer/link to the detailed electronic version of the disclosure statement which will be archived on the journal’s website. 

Failure to disclose relevant information at the submission stage may result in reversal of acceptance decisions. If the paper is already published, the journal reserves the right to post a note on the journal’s website and in its printed version notifying readers that the authors of the paper violated the WEAI Disclosure Policy. Violations of the Disclosure Policy will be brought to the attention of members of WEAI’s Executive Board who will decide on the appropriate course of action in each case. 

The WEAI believes that it is in the authors’ best interest to disclose potential conflicts of interest. Disclosure is author- and paper-specific; a specific relationship may be relevant for one of an author’s papers, but not for another. In cases of uncertainty regarding whether to disclose a particular relationship, a guiding principle should be the answer to the question: “Would I or my institution or a reasonable person be embarrassed if I had not disclosed this relationship and it was subsequently discovered by a journalist, colleague or university administrator?” If the answer to this question is “yes,” the relationship must be disclosed. In the following, we provide some examples to help clarify the policy. Some of these examples draw on the disclosure policy of the NBER, which is similar to the WEAI’s. We encourage authors to visit the NBER website for a list of additional examples. 

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval 

For any paper involving the collection of data on human subjects the author(s) must disclose whether they have obtained Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval; if no IRB approval was obtained, the reason should be stated. 

For example, if the authors have not obtained IRB approval because their institutions do not have IRBs, that fact must be stated.  The IRB disclosure statement will be included in the “acknowledgments” footnote. 

Frequently Asked Questions