…eleven schools contribute 50 percent of the political science academics to research-intensive universities in the United States. Over 100 political science PhD programs are graduating students that will contest the remaining 50 percent of openings.

These numbers likely understate the impact of prestigious universities; the present study does not include the many liberal arts colleges and regional universities that also hire graduates of these programs and increase the network of advocates for graduates from highly ranked universities. Of course, this is somewhat expected given that the most prestigious programs are often also the ones that have the highest numbers of students. As we move forward with this project, we will control for institution size and output.

The study, published by Robert Oprisko in the Georgetown Public Policy Review, is here, via Inside Higher Ed. From the IHE interview:

Oprisko said that he isn’t suggesting that places such as Harvard shouldn’t have good placement records, only that institutions should not rule out those from elsewhere. “There are students graduating from school No. 50 who are no worse than those at school No. 1,” he said. It’s too easy, he said, to exclude people who didn’t earn their Ph.D.s at elite places.

And Oprisko freely admits that the issue is one with which he identifies. He earned a Ph.D. in political theory last year from Purdue University, and he’s on the job market because he’s in a visiting slot this year.

[Cross-posted at The Monkey Cage]

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John Sides is an associate professor of political science at George Washington University.