We describe the evolution of subject areas published in economics for nearly four decades. We calculate the percentage of all articles published in each Journal of Economic Literature (JEL) subject category. We do the same calculation for eight leading general economics journals. Finally, we look at the top 100 journals as ranked by Eigenfactor.com’s Article Influence (AI) and re-weight the percentage shares by AI for 1995-2006. Some subject areas have been remarkably constant in their percentage share of articles. Other areas (such as Finance, Development, and Industrial Organization) have seen their share of total articles rise over the past four decades while others (such as Microeconomics, Macroeconomics,and Labor) have seen their share fall. When the percentage share is re-weighted by Article Influence, a measure of how much the article is cited, some of these increases and decreases are confirmed (such as Finance and Macroeconomics), while the trend is not confirmed for others (such as Microeconomics and Labor). We define specialty journals based upon the concentration of the top two subject fields of articles published in the journal. While more specialty journals tend to increase the overall percentage share for that subject, the effect is ambiguous when reweighted by Article Influence.
Trend of subjects published in economics journals 1969-2007