Guidelines for AERE Abstracts

The best abstracts are those that convey that the research is potentially interesting, that the authors are using good data and adequate methods and that the results are sound. Because we have a generous limit of 1000 words, reviewers will hope for sufficient detail in the abstract to fully judge the quality and contribution of the paper. Instead of writing a short abstract that is designed to summarize your paper (250 words), write a short paper between 800 and 1000 words with details that really lets the reviewer know what you are trying to achieve.

Dos and Don’ts:

  • Do use headings if possible (e.g., introduction, data, methods, results, conclusions).
  • Introduction: Explain to the reviewer what the purpose of the paper is and how it fits within the literature. What is the marginal contribution? There is no need to produce full bibliographic information of referenced papers (e.g., Smith, JAERE, 2018 will suffice).
  • Data: Make sure to fully describe the data source(s). An assertion that the data are novel does not generate much excitement from a reviewer, so be specific. What is the sample size?
  • Methods: Don’t assume anything about the reviewer’s knowledge of your methods. Is there a methodological innovation relative to the literature? If yes, describe it. What is the dependent variable? What are the key independent variables? How are these measured?
  • Results: Fully describe your results. If the results are preliminary, let the reviewer know that is the case, but explain that updated results will be available by the time of the conference. Don’t present your results in tables or figures.
  • Conclusions: The conclusions can be short but some bottom-line contribution of the paper should be conveyed. What is the economic importance of your results? If the results are policy-relevant, what are the policy implications? There is no need to detail the limitations of your paper or suggestions for future research.