Can intelligence explain the overrepresentation of liberals and leftists in American academia?

How is that for a provocative, comment-inducing article title?  That’s a new piece in Intelligence by Noah Carl, the abstract is this:

It is well known that individuals with so-called liberal or leftist views are overrepresented in American academia. By bringing together data on American academics, the general population and a high-IQ population, the present study investigates how much of this overrepresentation can be explained by intelligence. It finds that intelligence can account for most of the disparity between academics and the general population on the issues of abortion, homosexuality and traditional gender roles. By contrast, it finds that intelligence cannot account for any of the disparity between academics and the general population on the issue of income inequality. But for methodological reasons, this finding is tentative. Furthermore, the paper finds that intelligence may account for less than half of the disparity on liberal versus conservative ideology, and much less than half the disparity on Democrat versus Republican identity. Following the analysis, eight alternative explanations for liberal and leftist overrepresentation are reviewed.

Do please note that the “intelligent” point of view need not be the correct one, it is simply the view held by individuals who measure as intelligent.

Most of all, modern America has a not-very-self-aware academic culture, which is far more insular than it likes to believe.  A good deal of what American academics believe springs from their culture, not from their intelligence per se.

For the pointer I thank Daniel B. Klein.


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