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If idealism is the best explanation, how would one explain that there were a lot more right-wing professors in humanities and social sciences in the past?

Do you have the numbers on the exact percentages? Would be interesting to look at.

I'm fairly certain that if you look historically, left-wingers will be over-represented in academia fairly consistently throughout most societies. In my opinion, the only explanation to this can be the Idealism point.

Taking your word on the fact that this relationship has strengthened recently, that could potentially be the effect of the other two factors coming into play. Sociology would be a good example where conforming to the dominant ideology is necessary to get ahead. Thus, even starting with a slight left bias will create a feedback loop, which over time would strengthen this bias.

Might also be interesting to dig into how tenure, and other such incentives have changed over time.
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