Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Ratio Working Papers,
The Ratio Institute

No 53: How Politically Diverse Are the Social Sciences and Humanities? Survey Evidence from Six Fields

Daniel B. Klein () and Charlotta Stern ()
Additional contact information
Daniel B. Klein: Department of Economics, Postal: Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA 95053, USA
Charlotta Stern: Institute for Social Research (SOFI), Postal: Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

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 estimates. 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; diversity; Democratic; Republican; voting; political parties

JEL-codes: A13; A14

20 pages, November 18, 2004

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