I find myself mucking around with margins and spacing a fair amount, and the IMAGE group at the University of Florida has a couple good pages describing your options here:
Lamport's book (see above) explains well how tables are defined in LaTeX. Once you understand this, the first part of the automation process is to generate each table in its own .tex file. If the analysis is implemented in C, I just open up the .tex file, write out the appropriate LaTeX table commands, and close it up. If it's Stata, the estout package can generate very pretty LaTeX tables. Then, in your LaTeX document, you just use \input to include these files.
Patrick W. Daly has extended the LaTeX handling of citations and bibliographies in his widely used natbib package. The documentation is definitely worth reading.
Many (but not all) journals have bibliography style files that make it trivial for authors to follow the necessary and sometimes arcane submission guidelines. The LaTeX Bibligraphy Styles Database has more than 2,000 journal styles, and CTAN keeps a list of style files just for economics journals. I wrote the one for the International Economic Review, so if you use it and have suggestions, please email me!
If you're submitting to a journal that doesn't have a style file, Ki-Joo Kim has written a terrific guide to building your own BibTeX style file with Patrick W. Daly's custom-bib package. Ki-Joo even has some tips on how to modify the style files that custom-bib generates. You can download Ki-Joo's "BibTeX Guide Through Examples" from his web page.