Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University Working Paper Series, Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University

No 8/2005:
Narrow-Tent Democrats and Fringe Others: The Policy Views of Social Science Professors

Daniel B. Klein () and Charlotta Stern ()

Abstract: This paper provides copious results from a 2003 survey of academics. We analyze the responses of 1208 academics from six scholarly associations (in anthropology, economics, history, legal and political philosophy, political science, and sociology) with regard to their views on 18 policy issues. The issues include economic regulations, personal-choice restrictions, and military action abroad. We find that the academics overwhelmingly vote Democratic and that the Democratic dominance has increased significantly since 1970. A multivariate analysis shows strongly that Republican scholars are more likely to land outside of academia. On the 18 policy questions, the Democratic-voter responses have much less variation than do the Republicans. The left has a narrow tent. The Democratic and Republican policy views of academics are somewhat in line with the ideal types, except that across the board both groups are simply more statist than the ideal types might suggest. Regarding disciplinary consensus, we find that the discipline with least consensus is economics. We do a cluster analysis, and the mathematical technique sorts the respondents into groups that nicely correspond to familiar ideological categories: establishment left, progressive, conservative, and libertarian. The conservative group and the libertarian group are equal in size (35 individuals, each), suggesting that academics who depart from the leftist ranks are as likely to be libertarian as conservative. We also find that conservatives are closer to the establishment left than they are to the libertarians.

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52 pages, October 21, 2005

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This paper is published as:
Klein, Daniel B. and Charlotta Stern, (2005), 'Professors and their politics: The policy views of social scientists', Critical Review, Vol. 17, No. 3-4, pages 257-303

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