A pair of sociologists think they may have an answer: typecasting. Conjure up the classic image of a humanities or social sciences professor, the fields where the imbalance is greatest: tweed jacket, pipe, nerdy, longwinded, secular — and liberal. Even though that may be an outdated stereotype, it influences younger people’s ideas about what they want to be when they grow up.
It’s not that being a professor makes you liberal; it’s that being a liberal makes you a professor. Or something. According to the study:
In particular, we found that professors are more liberal than other Americans because a higher proportion have advanced educational credentials, exhibit a disparity between their levels of education and income, have distinctive religious profiles, and express greater tolerance for controversial ideas. We then outlined a new theory of professorial liberalism based on our findings that links occupational reputation with individual aspirations.
Nice to have all that cleared up. The study ends with a very common recommendation in academic studies: more research on this issue is needed. Maybe. It seems that a more interesting study might take this issue in a new direction, however; why doesn’t all this liberal indoctrination ever seem to work?