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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Talk about heavy lifting...

How about this paper titled "A theory of commerce," which appears in the current issue of the Journal of Economic Theory. For the uninitiated, JET is one of the best journals in the world, and it is also one of the hardest to read.

The abstract reads pretty well:
The theory of commerce advanced here captures prominent features of retail trade: large employment, congestion effects, anonymous posted prices, and quantity discounts. This theory is built around a directed search model where buyers' preferences are private information. The analytical solution is easily inserted in a Neoclassical growth framework. In this framework, the parameters of retail trade are calibrated using commercial margins and employment. Welfare properties depend on the sellers' ability to charge two-tier prices. With two-tier prices, the directed search equilibrium is efficient. Otherwise, it is not. This contrasts with the full information benchmark, where directed search is always efficient.

Okay, good enough. However, the paper is 40 PAGES LONG!! This would put the submission (double spaced, etc) somewhere near 70-80 pages long! I feel for whoever had to referee this paper. It is unfair to force anyone (especially an unpaid referee) to read a 60-80 page paper.

I might try to tackle this paper over the weekend, but in my book forty pages in JET is probably thirty pages too many.

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