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Brookings Papers on Economic Activity

For authors

Prospective authors:
Call for Papers

Authors of accepted papers and discussants:
Style GuidelinesFigures and TablesData Availability PolicyEmbargo PolicyManuscript Templates

Call for Papers

The Brookings Papers on Economic Activity (BPEA) is an academic journal on a broad range of macroeconomic issues currently impacting the public policy debates. The journal emphasizes rigorous analysis that has an empirical orientation, takes real-world institutions seriously, and is relevant to economic policy. Papers are presented and discussed at conferences typically held twice a year in spring and fall, and published with discussant comments several months after.

Topics covered by the journal include fiscal and monetary policy, consumption and saving behavior, business investment, housing, asset pricing, labor markets, wage- and price-setting, business cycles, long-run economic growth, the distribution of income and wealth, international capital flows and exchange rates, international trade and development, and the macroeconomic implications of health care costs, energy supply and demand, environmental issues, and the education system.

Although most BPEA papers are solicited by editors, unsolicited proposals are welcome. Interested authors should submit the following materials via the submission form.

  • Proposal: The proposal can be 1) a completed academic paper; OR 2) a detailed paper outline (no more than five double-spaced pages) with specified data sources and preliminary empirical results.
  • Letter to editors: A one-page letter outlining the proposal.

Editors evaluate the proposals on a rolling basis based on their originality, analytical rigor, policy relevance, and the needs of the conference program. Editorial decisions are typically made nine months prior to each conference – proposals received by December 1 are considered for the following fall conference, and those received by June 1 for the spring. However, qualified proposals may be considered for conferences outside of the normal evaluation timeline, depending on the timeliness of the topics and the program needs. Proposals from early career researchers, and members of under-represented groups in the economics profession are encouraged. Given the volume of proposals we receive, only the authors of accepted proposals will be contacted, typically within three weeks.

More information on the past BPEA papers and conferences can be found here. If you have any questions, please contact Haowen Chen ( 

Style guidelines

*Please submit your manuscript in Word and PDF.


  • Page limits for the final version of the manuscript ready for factchecking and copyediting will be strictly enforced as:
    • 45 pages max for regular papers
    • 15 pages max for discussant comments
    • 15 pages max for panel papers
    • Page limits are inclusive of figures, tables, and references. This limit assumes a standard figure including caption and note takes up half a page (see a recent BPEA final paper to see how figures are set).
  • 12 point Times New Roman, 1.5 line spaced
  • Use paragraph indents, not line spaces, between paragraphs


  • An abstract should be within 100-200 words highlighting the purpose of the research, the principal results and major conclusions.

Section numbering and levels of headings

  • Introductory section: Not numbered; if necessary, ALL CAPS subsections may be used in the introduction sparingly (example on p. 399)
  • Section headings: Clearly indicate up to four levels of subheads using the following formatting; Roman numerals and letters are used to number the sections.

section heading

In-Text Citation

  • A reference list entry for every source cited in the text is required.
  • Use “and others” (not et al.) for works with more than three authors. Examples: Johnson and others (2010); (Johnson and others 2010)


  • Reference list must be prepared in Chicago Style.
  • Authors’ names are to appear as they appear in the original publication. This includes accents, middle initials, Jr., etc. First names are written out in full in place of initials where known. If the same author appears in multiple references, and different styles are used in the original publications, defer to the longer name. (See CMS Online).
  • References to websites, including datasets and databases, should not be included in the reference but included in a text note, giving the title of the website, page or item, URL, and access date.


BPEA styling example

BPEA reference list example

Reference to a BPEA paper:

  • Pre-2006: Use issue number. Example: Obstfeld, Maurice, and Kenneth S. Rogoff. 2005. “Global Current Account Imbalances and Exchange Rate Adjustments.” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, no. 1: 67–123.
  • Post-2006: Use season (Fall/Spring). Example: Williams, John C. 2009. “Heeding Daedalus: Optimal Inflation and the Zero Lower Bound.” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Fall, 1–37.

Online Appendix

  • BPEA encourages use of an online supplement for derivations, detailed data description, additional results, etc.
  • All appendices will be published online only, not edited, and referred to in the text as “online appendix,” following whatever numbering convention given in the author’s original.

Figures and Tables

  • Figures and tables should be included in the text, near the relevant text with sources provided.
  • Include an overall note providing any additional explanation so that the figure/table is as self-contained as possible. For tables, include lettered notes to specific parts of the table if needed. Include note on significance levels (probability notes) separately, if needed.
  • BPEA re-creates the figures in house style in print in black and white. Do not refer to colors when discussing figures in text or describing figure elements in figure notes.
  • Figures should be submitted in SVG (preferable), EPS, PDF or Excel format with data used to generate the charts.

Reuse a figure/table

What is an original figure/table?

An original figure/table is one that you created and has NOT been published. No permission or attribution is needed to include an original figure/table in your manuscript.

What is a reproduced figure/table?

A reproduced figure/table is NOT original, but an exact copy of a figure/table that has already been published, both in print and online. It may have been published in your manuscript, or another researcher’s manuscript. You must request permission from the copyright owner of the original figure/table, and attribute to the original source in your manuscript. The copyright owner is often the publisher of the original figure/table.

What is an adapted figure/table?

An adapted figure/table is NOT original, but “adapted” from a figure/table that has already been published (looks similar but has been changed). Permission from the copyright owner (usually the original publisher) and attribution to the source where the original figure/table was published are required, even if you created the original figure/table.

Data Availability Policy

The Brookings Papers on Economic Activity has adopted the policy on data availability being used by the American Economic Review and Journal of Political Economy. Specifically:

General Policy

It is the policy of BPEA to publish papers only if the data used in the analysis are clearly and precisely documented and are readily available to any researcher for purposes of replication. Authors of papers that contain empirical work, simulations, or experimental results must provide to BPEA, in electronic form prior to publication, the data, programs, and other details of the computations sufficient to permit replication. These materials will be posted on the BPEA web site. If the data used in a paper are proprietary or if this information cannot be provided for some other reason, authors must provide written notice to editors and Program Contact prior to the Conference, and work with them to ensure appropriate attribution and a route for access to the data. Manuscripts not conforming to this data policy will not be published.

Specific Policy for Econometric and Simulation Papers

The materials delivered should include the data sets and programs used to run the final models, plus a description of how previous intermediate data sets and programs were employed to create the final data sets. Authors are invited to submit these intermediate data files and programs as an option; if they are not provided, authors must fully cooperate with investigators seeking to conduct a replication who request them. The data files and programs can be provided in any format using any statistical package or software. However, the programs must run without crashing on any computer with the correct software. Authors must provide a Readme PDF file listing all included files and documenting the purpose and format of each file provided, as well as instructing a user on how replication can be conducted. If a request for an exemption based on proprietary data is made, authors should inform the editors if the data can be accessed or obtained in some other way by independent researchers for purposes of replication. Authors are also asked to provide information on how the proprietary data can be obtained by others in their Readme PDF file. A copy of the programs used to create the final results is still required.

Specific Policy for Experimental Papers

The material delivered should include the following:

  • Original instructions should be summarized as part of the discussion of experimental design in the text and provided in full as an appendix. The instructions should be presented in a way that, together with the design summary, conveys the protocol clearly enough that the design could be replicated by a reasonably skilled experimentalist. For example, if different instructions were used for different sessions, the correspondence should be indicated.
  • Information about subject eligibility or selection, such as exclusions based on past participation in experiments, college major, etc. should be summarized as part of the discussion of experimental design.
  • Any computer programs, configuration files, or scripts used to run the experiment and/or to analyze the data should be summarized as appropriate in the text and provided in full as an appendix. Data summaries, intermediate results, and advice about how to use the programs are welcome but not required.
  • Raw data from the experiment should be summarized as appropriate in the text and provided in full as an appendix, with sufficient explanation to make it possible to use the submitted computer programs to replicate the data analysis.
  • Other information, such as applications to institutional review boards, consent forms, or Web signup and disclosure forms, is not required or expected. If it desired to make this kind of information public, it should be posted on laboratory or authors’ web sites.

Embargo policy

  • BPEA papers are embargoed prior to the conference at which the paper would be presented.
  • Authors should NOT post papers separately nor have them posted in a working paper series prior to the conference. Authors and others can link to the BPEA conference page where the conference drafts will be posted, if needed.
  • Authors are welcome and encouraged to have their papers appear in a working paper series and/or to have them posted by their home institution after the conference. Please retain the reference to preparation for BPEA.
  • If a paper already has appeared in draft form in a working paper series that allows updates, authors can update it with the conference version (including the BPEA reference) after the conference.

Manuscript templates

We encourage authors and discussants to use our templates when preparing the manuscripts. *Download templates: authors; discussants.

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