A journal ranking based on central bank citations

BIS Working Papers  |  No 1139  | 
30 October 2023



Economic policy is informed by academic research. Over time, the realm of topics of interest to central banks has shifted in lockstep with real events and has significantly broadened. Nonetheless, certain outlets have consistently been a point of reference for the policy community. Which academic journals are at the forefront in publishing research that bears high policy significance for central banks and international financial institutions?


We develop a unique ranking methodology centred on capturing policy relevance for central banks. Our ranking is based on single impact factors. The main difference compared with existing rankings is that we do not include all citations, but only those in publications that are issued by a central bank, like its working paper series or policy journals. Our ranking facilitates a more granular understanding of policy impact within the field of central banking. Moreover, it offers a guide to researchers who want to target policy audiences and can help central banks more generally in gauging and optimising the policy impact of their analytical output and its evolution over time.


Our ranking approach reveals four significant insights. First, not all of the top five general economics journals secure top positions in our ranking. Second, journals focusing on central banking core areas, such as monetary economics, rank much higher compared with existing rankings. Third, despite improvements post-Great Financial Crisis, leading finance journals remain lower in our central bank ranking. Lastly, econometrics-focused journals have limited prominence in our ranking.


We present a ranking of journals geared toward measuring the policy relevance of research. We compute simple impact factors that count only citations made in central bank publications, such as their working paper series. Whereas this ranking confirms the policy relevance of the major general interest journals in the field of economics, the major finance journals fare less favourably. Journals specialising in monetary economics, international economics and financial intermediation feature highly, but surprisingly not those specialising in econometrics. The ranking is topped by the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, followed by the Quarterly Journal of Economics and the Journal of Monetary Economics, the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, and the Journal of Political Economy.

JEL classification: A11, E50, E58

Keywords : central banks, citations, academic journals, ranking