How Politically Diverse Are the Social Sciences and Humanities? Survey Evidence from Six Fields

Academic Questions, Transaction Publishers, Forthcoming

20 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2005  

Daniel B. Klein

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Charlotta Stern

Stockholm University - Institute for Social Research

Abstract

In Spring 2003, a large-scale survey of American academics was conducted using academic association membership lists from six fields: Anthropology, Economics, History, Philosophy (political and legal), Political Science, and Sociology. This paper focuses on one question: To which political party have the candidates you've voted for in the past ten years mostly belonged? The question was answered by 96.4 percent of academic respondents. The results show that the faculty is heavily skewed towards voting Democratic. The most lopsided fields surveyed are Anthropology with a D to R ratio of 30.2 to 1, and Sociology with 28.0 to 1. The least lopsided is Economics with 3.0 to 1. After Economics, the least lopsided is Political Science with 6.7 to 1. The average of the six ratios by field is about 15 to 1. Our analysis and related research suggest that for the the social sciences and humanities overall, a "one-big-pool" ratio of 7 to 1 is a safe lower-bound estimate, and 8 to 1 or 9 to 1 are reasonable point estimate. Thus, the social sciences and humanities are dominated by Democrats. There is little ideological diversity. We discuss Stephen Balch's "property rights" proposal to help remedy the situation.

Keywords: Academia, Democrat, Republican, diversity, social scientists, humanities

JEL Classification: I23

Suggested Citation

Klein, Daniel B. and Stern, Charlotta, How Politically Diverse Are the Social Sciences and Humanities? Survey Evidence from Six Fields. Academic Questions, Transaction Publishers, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=664042

Daniel B. Klein (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Charlotta Stern

Stockholm University - Institute for Social Research ( email )

Kyrkgatan 43B
SE-106 91 Stockholm
Sweden

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