Jackson Named Editor of Leading Economic Journal

Jackson Named Editor of Leading Economic Journal

Kirabo Jackson“Providing constructive feedback is one of the more rewarding parts of the job," says Kirabo Jackson.Northwestern University professor Kirabo Jackson was appointed lead editor for the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, one of the nation’s most respected scholarly economic journals.

Jackson, a labor economist and the Abraham Harris Professor of Human Development and Social Policy at the School of Education and Social Policy, has served as a co-editor for the last three years. He begins his new role in January 2023.

As editor, hopes to continue the excellent work currently being done, but also broaden the scope of content by considering approaches that are often not published in mainstream economics journals, including replication studies and meta-analysis, which is used to examine data from several studies of the same subject to better understand overall patterns. These types of studies speak to issues of generalizability and replicability, which are very important for a policy oriented journal, he says.

“I don’t subscribe to the view that there is a ‘best paper’ on a topic,” Jackson says. “Every paper should be looked at in the context of broader existing literature. Replication studies and meta-analysis often have a hard time getting published, but I think that well done studies of this type should have a home in a mainstream policy-oriented journal.”

Jackson’s editing philosophy holds that many authors need and appreciate extensive feedback, even those whose papers are rejected. He enjoys reading the new work, editing, and collaborating with other researchers beyond the field of economics.

“Providing constructive feedback is one of the more rewarding parts of the job," he says. "People are often happy that someone just took the time to read the paper. They may be someone who hasn’t gotten feedback in a long time, or they may be a professor or junior faculty member who doesn’t have senior scholars to work with. I enjoy providing the feedback and people seem to value it.”

His own research looks at how people are affected by education systems. In addition to public school funding, his work explores how college prep programs, ability tracking, single-sex education, and other practices can benefit or hurt students long after they’ve left school.

Some of his most original and influential new work tackles the vexing question of what makes someone a good teacher and casts doubt on whether test scores are the best way—or only way—to assess how well students do in school.

In 2020, Jackson received the David N. Kershaw Award from the Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management, which recognizes distinguished policy research contributions for scholars under 40. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Education.

Jackson is a faculty fellow at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research. His work has appeared in leading economics journals such as the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Journal of Political Economy, the Review of Economic Studies, the American Economic Journal, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of Labor Economics, and the Journal of Human Resources

Previously, Jackson served on the American Economic Association's committee on the status of minority groups in the economics profession and he has been a co-editor of The Journal of Human Resources. He also is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. 

Jackson succeeds Dartmouth College’s Erzo Luttmer. The AEJ’s Economic Policy publishes papers in subjects such as urban and regional economics; public policy aspects of health, education, welfare, and political institutions; law and economics; and environmental and natural resource economics.

By Julie Deardorff, photo by Jim Prisching
Last Modified: 4/28/22