Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Pathology of Academic Leftism

Daniel B. Klein (George Mason University) and Charlotta Stern (University of Stockholm) delve deeper than the obvious fact that most academics are persons of the left. From the summary of Klein and Stern's paper, "Narrow-Tent Democrats and Fringe Others: The Policy Views of Social Science Professors" (pp. 43-5 in the pdf version):
. . . .

• The Democratic domination has increased significantly since 1970. Republicans are being eliminated. . . .

• The Democrats not only dominate, but they have a narrow tent. Whereas the Republicans usually have diversity on an issue, the Democrats very often have a party line. It is clear that there is significantly more diversity under the Republican tent.

• On the whole, the Democrats and Republicans are quite statist.

• Economists are measurably less statist, but most of them are still quite statist.

• Economists show the least consensus on policy issues. The differences between Democrats and Republicans are largest in economics, and the standard deviations are largest. . . .

• Younger professors tend to be slightly less statist than older professors.

• We find strong evidence that Republican scholars are more likely to be sorted out of academia.

• Voting D[emocrat] is significantly correlated with having Democratic parents, being employed in academia, being an anthropologist or sociologist, having statist policy views, and having a more recent degree. . . .

• Simple measures show that the libertarians are quite exceptional. The minimum of the dissimilarities between them and any other group is greater than the maximum of dissimilarity between any pair of other groups.

The “liberal versus conservative” formulation of American politics omits the libertarians from the landscape. . . . If freedom is a core political value, then there is something very wrong with a formulation that omits the ideology most aligned with that value.
Well, freedom is not a core political value for most of today's social-science academics, as Klein and Stern amply demonstrate.