Author guidelines

Submitting a working paper

We invite submissions of previously unpublished papers. It is the responsibility of authors to ensure that submissions do not breach copyright laws.

Papers should be no more than 12,000 words, should include references and an abstract and should strictly adhere to author guidelines.



  • Include an abstract (+/-) 250 words.
  • Include all author titles, affiliations and email addresses.
  • Include acknowledgments (if necessary).
  • Use in-text references and a bibliography (see style below). Check these, including URLs, for accuracy. Dates of works cited in-text and in the bibliography should match.
  • For discursive references, use numbered footnotes, with any references as in the main text.
  • Check all figures and tables are complete and sources mentioned. Also, confirm that any copyright permissions have been obtained. Tables and figures should be included within the main document.
  • Provide up to a maximum of ten keywords and/or JEL codes
  • Submit a Word document


Guidelines for structure and text

  • Abstracts should not be a repeat of your first paragraph/introduction but should bring out the article’s main aims, findings and conclusions. Do not include any references.
  • Keep paragraphs and sentences short.
  • When an acronym is first used, write it out in full.
  • When a specialist term is first used, please provide a definition.
  • Bear in mind international readership and explain country- and subject-specific terms, as well as any foreign-language terms not widely known.
  • Papers should not normally exceed 12,000 words including abstract, footnotes and references.


Terminology and spelling

  • Please use British spellings – set your Word document to ‘English (UK)’.
  • Aim for consistency: either online, leftwing; or on-line, left-wing, but not both styles
  • Spell out numbers from one to ten, and use numerals for those above ten, except at the start of a sentence. Insert a comma after thousands: 1,000; 10,000.
  • Use open punctuation (US, eg and ie rather than U.S. e.g. and i.e.).
  • Use figures + % rather than percent/per cent in text (5%, 200%).
  • Names of foreign organisations should not be italicised, but foreign phrases (unless very well known, eg modus operandi, Schadenfreude) should be: En Marche, Deutsche Bundeswehr; buen vivir, Zeitgeist.


Fonts and formatting

  • Use section headings to break up the text; bold for first-order headings (1); Roman for second order headings (1.1, 1.2) and  italics (no numbering) for third
  • For long lists, use bullet points or Arabic (1,2,3) numbers. Don’t use Roman numerals or letters.
  • Each figure, table or graph should be numbered and referred to in the text.
  • The bibliography at end of the paper.


Reference style

If you use reference management software, we would recommend using the following citation styles:


Use author, comma, date inside brackets (Bloggs, 2011). For co-authored works, use ‘and’ between two authors (not &) and ‘et al’ for three or more. For multiple citations, separate authors with a semi-colon (Bloggs and Bloggs, 1998; Bloggs et al, 2000). If an author is discussed as part of the text, just the date goes in brackets: ‘Bloggs (1992) has argued that…’

If a direct quote is made, insert its page number(s) after the date (Bloggs and Bloggs, 1998, p 21). Quoted page numbers should not appear in the bibliography.


Journal article

Kabir, M.D.A., Rahman, A. Salway, S. and Pryer, J. (2000). ‘Sickness among the urban poor: a barrier to livelihood security’. Journal for International Development 12, 707-722.

Online report

Human Sciences Research Council (2004). Fact Sheet: Poverty in South Africa [online resource available at]. Accessed: 21 March 2006.


Skocpol, T. (1992). Protecting Soldiers and Mothers: The Political Origins of Social Policy in the United States. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Edited book

Datt, G., Ramadas, K., van der Mensbrugghe, D., Walker, T. and Wodon Q. (2003).  ‘Predicting the effects of aggregate growth on poverty’. In Bourguignon, F. and Pereria da Silva, L. A. (eds), The Impact of Economic Policies on Poverty and Income Distribution: Evaluation Techniques and Tools. New York: Oxford University Press.