Registered Democratic professors outnumber Republican ones nearly 12 to 1 in economics, journalism, psychology and law programs at leading U.S. universities, according to new research.
Many departments at top schools have no registered Republicans, and in many cases, Republicans are outnumbered by registered members of third parties.
The analysis, published in the online journal Econ Journal Watch, presents new evidence that elite universities lean to the Left. It also suggests that Democratic partisanship may be increasing at those schools, as the Democrat-to-Republican ratio appears to have risen significantly in recent years and younger faculty are even more Democratic than their older peers.
Authors Mitchell Langbert, Anthony Quain and Daniel Klein compared departmental faculty lists with voter registration rolls to conclude that there are 11.5 registered Democrats for every one Republican among faculty at the top 40 highest-ranked schools they studied.
Of the five departments they analyzed, history was by far the most Democratic. There are more than 33 Democratic professors for every Republican at the top 40 schools. Economics was the least Democratic, with a 4.5 to 1 ratio.
Many top schools had departments entirely dominated by Democrats, in the sense that there were numerous registered Democrats and zero registered Republicans.
For example, Columbia University's history department has 63 registered Democrats and zero registered Republicans. Stanford's psychology program has 34 Democratic professors, but no Republicans.
The authors note that the faculty most likely to be Republicans are retired professors, while junior professors and younger professors are more likely to be registered as Democrats.
That datapoint accords with what they see as a trend toward greater Democratic partisanship in elite higher education. In the 1960s, the ratio of Democrats to Republicans was just 2.7 to 1, far lower than the 33 to 1 ratio today, which "signals quite a change," the authors wrote.
All three authors acknowledged that they have a libertarian viewpoint, and that they view both major parties as "by and large, horrible."
Nevertheless, their analysis is in line with what other researchers have found, namely that elite academia leans to the left and is becoming more partisan. Heterodox Academy, a group of professors that promotes diversity in academia, reported this year that higher education has shifted to the left since the 1990s.
Nevertheless, there are some schools at which Republicans are not badly outnumbered, according to Langbert, Quain and Klein's analysis. And at four departments, Republicans outnumber Democrats: Pepperdine's history, economics and law programs, and Ohio State's economics departments.