Saturday, January 30, 2016

My Article in Econ Journal Watch

Econ Journal Watch just published my study of 920 industrial relations (IR) researchers.  Mine is one of the first times an association has been shown between (a) Democratic registration and political contributions and (b) the ideological orientation of a field’s published research.   I found that when I scored papers in the leading IR journals for ideological orientation without knowing the authors’ information and then looked up the authors’ information in a party registration data base there is a statistically significant association between the ideological orientation expressed in the articles and the authors’ political registration or contributions.  In other words, the exclusion of scholars with alternative views mirrors the balance of views expressed in the published research in the leading IR journals.  Nevertheless, none of the journals states that they advocate an ideological orientation.
As well, I found that the exclusion of non-leftists becomes more intense as one moves up the academic hierarchy.  While individual academics associated with the IR field have a D:R ratio of 8 to 1 (mainstream economists have a D:R ratio of 3 to 1), those who contribute twice or more (e.g., publish two papers over five years or are both an editor and an article author) have a D:R ratio of 11 to 1. Editors at the two leading IR journals, Industrial and Labor Relations Review and Industrial Relations, have a D:R ratio of 43 to 1.  Thus, in the study I emphasize person roles rather than individuals. (That is, if someone is both an editor and an author they count twice.)  The overall D:R ratio for academic person-roles is 10 to 1, but that includes the Journal of Labor Research, which the Olin Foundation specifically funded to permit alternative views in the IR field.  Without JLR, the registration ratio is 13 to 1. The political contributions ratios are even more extreme.
The article appears here:
The summary is as follows.

I show that the field known as industrial relations (IR) leans overwhelmingly to the political left. I investigate the voter registration and political contributions of IR researchers, showing overwhelming Democratic Party favor. I construct a data set of participants in the IR field, which contains 920 U.S.-based person-roles (deriving from 709 actual persons). Included are the authors of the 539 research articles published in four periodicals 2009–2013: (1) the annual meeting proceedings volume of the Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA), (2) Industrial and Labor Relations Review, (3) Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, and (4) the Journal of Labor Research. I also include the editors of the periodicals, the officers of LERA, and a sample of LERA’s ordinary members. The data suggests that the ratio of Democratic-to-Republican voter registration among participants in IR is roughly 10 to one. I find a similar ratio when looking at those who have made contributions to Democratic and Republican candidates for office. I also show that Democratic lopsidedness at the three mainstream IR journals becomes more extreme at the higher stations (officers and editors, as opposed to ordinary members and authors). Also, I analyze the content of the 539 articles for union support and regulation support; the mainstream IR journals are overwhelmingly pro-union and pro-regulation.

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