The Politics of Academic Research

Fisher College of Business Working Paper No. 2023-03-12

Charles A. Dice Working Paper No. 2023-12

55 Pages Posted: 19 May 2023

See all articles by Matthew C. Ringgenberg

Matthew C. Ringgenberg

University of Utah - Department of Finance

Chong Shu

University of Utah - David Eccles School of Business

Ingrid M. Werner

The Ohio State University - Fisher College of Business

Date Written: May 17, 2023

Abstract

We develop a novel measure of political slant in research to examine whether political ideology influences the content and use of academic research. Our measure examines the frequency of citations from think tanks with different political ideologies and allows us to examine both the supply and demand for research. We find that research in Economics and Political Science displays a liberal slant, while Finance and Accounting research exhibits a conservative slant, and these differences cannot be accounted for by variations in research topics. We also find that the ideological slant of researchers is positively correlated with that of their Ph.D. institution and research conducted outside universities appears to cater more to the political party of the current President. Finally, political donations data confirms that the ideological slant we measure based on think tank citations aligns with the political values of researchers. Our findings have important implications for the structure of research funding.

Keywords: Political slant, social science research, ideology

JEL Classification: G12, G14

Suggested Citation

Ringgenberg, Matthew C. and Shu, Chong and Werner, Ingrid M., The Politics of Academic Research (May 17, 2023). Fisher College of Business Working Paper No. 2023-03-12, Charles A. Dice Working Paper No. 2023-12, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4451697 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4451697

Matthew C. Ringgenberg

University of Utah - Department of Finance ( email )

David Eccles School of Business
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States

Chong Shu

University of Utah - David Eccles School of Business ( email )

1645 E Campus Center Dr
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9303
United States

Ingrid M. Werner (Contact Author)

The Ohio State University - Fisher College of Business ( email )

2100 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1144
United States
614-292-6460 (Phone)
614-292-2418 (Fax)

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