Empirical Economics

, Volume 57, Issue 3, pp 901–921 | Cite as

Which leading journal leads? Idea diffusion in economics research journals

  • Allen BellasEmail author
  • Lea-Rachel Kosnik


Do general interest journals set the trends in research attention to particular topics, or is it field journals that have greater initial influence? In this paper, we focus on the subfield of environmental economics and attempt to empirically identify whether it has been the leading general interest journals or the top environmental economics field journal that has set the research trends on climate change, air pollution, water pollution, and other topics. We use textual analysis and Granger causality tests to investigate the question of which journals lead in publication of papers related to these topics in environmental economics. Our results indicate that leadership depends on the topic; however, there is some evidence that the top field journal in environmental economics generally took the lead in more controversial topics.


Environmental economics Textual analysis Granger causality Research diffusion 

JEL Classification

A10 Q50 



We gratefully acknowledge the help and assistance of Julia Paljor, Melissa Maxwell, Ruth Zietlow, Minh Vo, and Barrett Kirwan.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Data availability

The datasets of this paper (1. code and programs, 2. data, 3. detailed readme files) are collected in the electronic supplementary material of this article.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (TXT 60 kb)
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Supplementary material 2 (TXT 22 kb)
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Supplementary material 3 (TXT 0 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of ManagementMetropolitan State UniversityMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of Missouri-St. LouisSt. LouisUSA

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