Purpose – Pareto’s Law often refers to the theory that a small percentage of a total is responsible for a large proportion of the total outcome. It is commonly known as the 80/20 law or principle. The objective is to review and debate whether there is a “Pareto syndrome” in the distribution of crucial research and journal criteria in top marketing journals. Design/methodology/approach – The authors provide a review and a debate based upon previous research on top marketing journals. For this purpose, the Pareto syndrome concept is introduced, based upon a set of research and journal criteria. Their distribution is examined. Findings – The review of research and journal criteria in top marketing journals generated an extremely skewed outcome. When it comes to the criteria, the top journals in marketing tend to be governed by narrow concerns of research rather than broad ones. Research limitations/implications – The research and journal criteria that have a skewed outcome may reinforce the rigidity and the lack of innovativeness of the marketing discipline. The evolutionary speed of the discipline may at best be reduced or it may at worst grind to a halt. The authors argue that there are a number of serious concerns to be addressed in the future review and debate of top journals in marketing. Practical implications – Editors and editorial boards need seriously to address the concerns reviewed and debated, namely the skewed distribution of criteria, such as affiliation, data and methodology. Originality/value – The authors debate that there is evidence that confirms the existence of a Pareto plus syndrome in key research and journal criteria of top marketing journals.
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