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Narrow-Tent Democrats and Fringe Others: The Policy Views of Social Science Professors

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  • Klein, Daniel B.

    ()
    (Department of Economics)

  • Stern, Charlotta

    ()
    (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University)

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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Swedish Institute for Social Research in its series Working Paper Series with number 8/2005.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: 21 Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Critical Review, 2005, pages 257-303.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sofiwp:2005_008

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References

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  1. Dan Fuller & Doris Geide-stevenson, 2003. "Consensus Among Economists: Revisited," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(4), pages 369-387, December.
  2. Malcolm Anderson & Richard Blandy & Sarah Carne, 1993. "Academic Economic Opinion in East Asia," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 26(3), pages 5-19.
  3. Fuchs, Victor R, 1996. "Economics, Values, and Health Care Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 1-24, March.
  4. Daniel B. Klein, 2006. "Sense and Sensibilities: Myrdal's Plea for Self-Disclosure and Some Disclosures on AEA Members," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 3(1), pages 180-205, January.
  5. Kearl, J R, et al, 1979. "A Confusion of Economists?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 28-37, May.
  6. Victor R. Fuchs & Alan B. Krueger & James M. Poterba, 1998. "Economists' Views about Parameters, Values, and Policies: Survey Results in Labor and Public Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1387-1425, September.
  7. Whaples, Robert, 1995. "Where Is There Consensus Among American Economic Historians? The Results of a Survey on Forty Propositions," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(01), pages 139-154, March.
  8. Klein, Daniel & Stern, Lotta, 2005. "Sociology and Classical Liberalism," Ratio Working Papers, The Ratio Institute 81, The Ratio Institute.
  9. Stern, Charlotta & Klein, Daniel B., 2006. "Is There a Free-Market Economist in the House? The Policy Views of American Economic Association Members," Working Paper Series, Swedish Institute for Social Research 6/2006, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  10. William A. McEachern, 2006. "AEA Ideology: Campaign Contributions of American Economic Association Members, Committee Members, Officers, Editors, Referees, Authors, and Acknowledgees," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 3(1), pages 148-179, January.
  11. Caplan, Bryan, 2001. "What Makes People Think Like Economists? Evidence on Economic Cognition from the "Survey of Americans and Economists on the Economy."," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(2), pages 395-426, October.
  12. David Colander, 2005. "The Making of An Economist Redux," Middlebury College Working Paper Series, Middlebury College, Department of Economics 0531, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  13. Malcolm Anderson & Richard Blandy, 1992. "What Australian Economics Professors Think," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 25(4), pages 17-40.
  14. Robert J. Blendon, 1997. "Bridging the Gap between the Public's and Economists' Views of the Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 105-118, Summer.
  15. Ricketts, Martin & Shoesmith, Edward, 1992. "British Economic Opinion: Positive Science or Normative Judgment?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 210-15, May.
  16. Walter Block & Michael A. Walker, 1988. "Entropy in the Canadian Economics Profession: Sampling Consensus on the Major Issues," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 14(2), pages 137-150, June.
  17. Bryan Caplan, 2002. "Systematically Biased Beliefs About Economics: Robust Evidence of Judgemental Anomalies from the Survey of Americans and Economists on the Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(479), pages 433-458, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Klein, Daniel & Stern, Lotta, 2005. "Sociology and Classical Liberalism," Ratio Working Papers, The Ratio Institute 81, The Ratio Institute.

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