From a newly minted PhD, via e-mail:
I ran into another Harvard student who recently had a chat with a senior economics faculty member who is telling students the following anecdote. Apparently the professor is involved in some way with the American Economics Review.
The AER has a backlog of two to three years between when papers are submitted and when they appear in print. Some of the papers currently in the pipeline, submitted before the crisis broke, predicted that the U.S. or global economy would remain prosperous and stable for many years to come. The professor wrote to all of these authors, asking them if they would like to withdraw their articles or at least modify them. All refused.
Consequently, for something like the next three years, the AER will interleave articles explaining why the crisis occurred with articles explaining why the crisis could not occur.
We can all wait with baited breath for future issues of the AER to see if this sighting is accurate, or maybe another reader can provide input.
But this story may say more about the standing of the AER and the pressure to publish, that it’s more important to get a paper published in a good venue than be something that will stand the test of time (to put it politely). If so, the incentives in the discipline are bad indeed.
But the surprising bit, if the details are right, is the rejection of the opportunity to rework the papers. Do they all believe that in two years we will be back to good global growth and this in retrospect will look like a convulsion that passed quickly?