Academia and Lifestyle Bias

The other week Megan McArdle wrote a post about political bias in academia, inspired by this anecdote about psychologist Jonathan Haidt:

He polled his audience at the San Antonio Convention Center, starting by asking how many considered themselves politically liberal. A sea of hands appeared, and Dr. Haidt estimated that liberals made up 80 percent of the 1,000 psychologists in the ballroom. When he asked for centrists and libertarians, he spotted fewer than three dozen hands. And then, when he asked for conservatives, he counted a grand total of three.

“This is a statistically impossible lack of diversity,” Dr. Haidt concluded, noting polls showing that 40 percent of Americans are conservative and 20 percent are liberal.

This post generated a record number of comments, many of them explaining reasons why this disproportion among academics was the result of something other than academia being a hostile environment for conservatives, which McArdle summarizes in a followup post as follows: Continue Reading