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Faculty Voter Registration in Economics, History, Journalism, Law, and Psychology

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Author
  • Mitchell Langbert, Anthony J. Quain, and Daniel B. Klein
Volume Number 13
Issue Number 3
Pages 422–451
File URL Faculty Voter Registration in Economics, History, Journalism, Law, and Psychology
Publication year 2016

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Grouping social sciences
Categories economic, economics

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4 comments

  1. What is the null hypothesis here? You appear to be assuming that absent the pressures you describe, faculty would resemble the US population. But it’s well known that, other things equal, those with more education tend to be Democrats.

    I suggest a better comparison would be with scientists, who have high levels of education but don’t in general need to make their political views known at work. According to a Pew survey of AAAS members from 2009, 55 per cent of scientists are Democrats and only 6 per cent are Republicans.

    So, a parsimonious hypothesis is that faculty in the disciplines you study are a representative sample of highly educated (PhD +) Americans in general.

    posted 02 Oct 2016 by John Quiggin

  2. Sean T. Stevens, in preparing a blog post for Heterodox Academy about the Langbert, Quain, and Klein article in EJW, scrutinized the article and caught a problem, and then kindly sent us a query about it.

    Sean noticed that in footnote 5 (p. 424) we list University of Florida and University of Miami as among those universities that, though ranked high enough by U.S. News to be included in our investigation, were not included because they sit in states not covered by Aristotle (the database used for the study).

    But Sean noticed that in footnote 4 (p. 423), listing the states not included in Aristotle, Florida is not listed. In fact, Florida is covered by Aristotle. In fact, those two Florida universities should have been included in our investigation.

    To rectify the problem, we need to investigate the two universities that have been mistakenly left out of our analysis, which covered 40 universities. Although our subscription to Aristotle had expired, Aristotle has generously restored to us temporary access, to rectify the problem. We are proceeding now and will report back on the findings; look for a notice here at EJW News.

    We are grateful to Sean for catching our error and bringing it to our attention!

    posted 04 Oct 2016 by Daniel Klein

  3. Great study, The next step should be finding “WHY”?
    First of all, we know scientists and faculties are likely to be less religious and more atheists, what about atheists’ political leaning, how much of “atheists” explains the D:R distribution.
    Second, majority of the Faculties are “secondary value generation” which means they do not produce goods and services directly, rather, they are supposed to “enable others to create more value”. We also know people working in “secondary value generation” industries (I.e. journalism, acting, etc) are also more politically leaning to the left.
    Third, “narcissistic intelligence”, which means how much people consider their own political believes and their intelligence is superior than others, and what are the typical political learning for people with “higher than normal self-confidence in their own believes”.
    Fourth, “political openness” what is the likelihood of people with D or R political leaning hire peole who are not politically aligned with them.

    posted 07 Oct 2016 by AlanTan

  4. John Quiggin: Thanks for your comment on Pew. You have a good point about the importance of baseline numbers. Unfortunately the Pew survey is unclear as to who its survey respondents are. They indicate that they surveyed the membership of the American Assoc. for the Advancement of Science. The AAAS publishes journals, and it includes a large share of academics. Also, its membership includes many outside the hard sciences, specifically in the notorious field of psychology. Hence, the Pew survey isn’t useful as a baseline. I just finished a study in which I actually found a higher rate of D affiliation among hard scientists in elite liberal arts colleges than in the Pew survey, so there is something wrong with it. In fact. some of the past AAAS presidents have been psychologists. A good survey of nonacademic scientists would be a good baseline. When you find one, please let me know. Thanks. ML

    posted 17 Oct 2017 by Mitchell_Langbert

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