Does taking Econ classes make your more Republican?

Yes, according to the study summarized in the Times.  Maybe, maybe not according to someone familiar with the idea of selection bias.  Its fairly safe to say that those who take Econ courses are not at all a random sample of college students and that surely there is something about people interested in taking more econ classes that very well may lead to more conservatism independent of anything they actually learn in Econ classes.  I’m really not a fan of Business majors– largely because of the selection bias of the type of individuals who choose this major.  Those, I did enjoy this little tidbit:

But students of economics were no more or less likely than other graduates to have voted in the 2000 presidential election, the study found. Business majors, on the other hand, were less likely than other former students to have voted for president in 2000 or to have volunteered their time for a cause, political or otherwise.

Presumably, they were too busy worrying about making money to actually invest in any sort of cause that makes a difference in the world.  Not that I’m judging them.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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