Click on each point for more information. Authors that have not followed these instructions should not be surprised if their submission is rejected without further explanation.
CFR Treatment Guidelines
We try to treat authors like we want to be treated ourselves. (Obviously, this should mean accepting a reasonable number of papers&emdash;not too few and not too many.) A lot of financial economics is taste and opinion---what subjects, questions, and styles one finds interesting. Moreover, neither the referees nor I (the editor) can pretend to be infallible. We try to do a good job but we make mistakes all the time. This is part of the job. Just because I rejected a paper does not mean that it is bad. It is quite alright for you to disagree with my decision; just give me credit for trying to do the best job I can, and please do not blame me for making what you consider a mistake. Just agree to disagree.
Although the CFR seeks to turn around submissions in a good time frame, it is not beholden to a goal of minimizing the turnaround time.
Given the CFR process of actively and quickly screening papers before submission, rejection rates are meaningless compared to other journals.
CFR Special Submission Categories: Critiques and Updates
In addition to ordinary finance papers, the CFR publishes (1) critiques [either of specific papers or a set of papers]; and (2) updates [short papers].
1. Critiques require longer handling periods than other papers. The original authors get to comment non-anonymously to inform the real referee, and then the paper goes to an anonymous real referee. The critique author sees the original authors' informative response and the anonymous referee's evaluation. Critiques also often require especially delicate handling, and warrant objective and almost an appeal-like process. A good critique well-handled can take up to 9-12 months to receive a first referee report. The benchmark for publication is not beyond all reasonable doubt but only preponderance of evidence. (The original paper does not automatically assume the role of a null hypothesis that needs to be rejected with 95% probability.) Finally, if accepted, the original authors get to write a response that will be published in the same issue as the critique.
2. Updates are short 5-10 page papers that principally bring important the statistical evidence historical papers up to date. That is, these updates have to use the same methods as the original paper, replicate it in the original sample, and then show what happens when the sample is updated to last year. Updates are particularly likely to be published if (1) the original paper is still highly cited; and (2) the original paper's inference using the original paper's own methods would no longer stand if the data sample had started at the same point but just ended now. (Clearly, the original authors could not have known this, and we would expect this to be often the case; e.g., McLean and Pontiff.)
There are no appeals, because the CFR rejects without prejudice. That is, authors can resubmit rejected papers. However, the acceptance threshold increases when they do. The revised paper better be one class better than the original submission in order to survive a desk reject and convince the original referee who rejected the paper.