Before, I shared some thoughts for improving academic journals. One of my complaints is about how long it takes. So, I decided to make a new ranking based on how long journals take to respond using ejmr data (among the top 50 journals ranked by citations, discounted recursive, last 10 years, although taken from last month). In the table below, # is the a journals rank by citations, and then there is data on acceptance rate, desk rejection rate, average time to first response (how the data is sorted), and then the 25th and 75th percentiles. The sample size is the last column.
Not surprisingly, the QJE, who desk rejects 62% of papers, is the fastest, with an average time of little more than two weeks. JEEA, with a 56% desk rejection rate, is up next, followed by JHR, with a 58% rejection rate. Finance journals, who often pay for quick referee reports, tend to be fast, while Macro and econometric journals tend to be the slowest. The JME, which is notorious, clocks in at an average of 7.7 months, with a median of 4 months, but a 75th percentile of 9 months. On the other hand, the acceptance rate for those who report their submission results at ejmr is 21%, and they do not desk reject. It might be worth doing a separate ranking for those papers that actually go out to referees. In any case, among top 5 journals, the JPE is the worst, clocking in at 4.8 months on average.
Of course, when submitting, it's still journal quality/citations that matter most. But review times in excess of 6 to 9 months can be career killers. Probably, it's the right tails which are the most important here, which is why I sorted by average rather than median.