Who Likes Political Science? Determinants of Senators’ Votes on the Coburn Amendment

Oct 10 '10

That’s the title of a new piece by Joseph Uscinski and Casey Klofstad. Perhaps their most interesting findings:

bq. Constituency characteristics such as the number of top 20 and top 50 political science Ph.D. programs in the state and the percent of the constituency with an advanced degree predict senators’ voting patterns. Personal characteristics were significant predictors as well: senators that graduated with a bachelor’s in political science were more likely to support political science funding.

These factors mattered over and above Senators’ party affiliation. The really fun stuff is in the footnotes. To wit:

bq. We called Senator Coburn’s Washington office to find out his annual operating budget. His assistant revealed that Coburn’s office has an estimated annual budget of $3 million, and that none of that recurrent funding has led to a cure for cancer.

That is, as of 2008 or so, this country spent about $5 million funding political science research, and about $3 million funding Tom Coburn.

The paper is “here”:http://www.as.miami.edu/personal/cklofstad/10_coburn.pdf (ungated pdf). Here is this blog’s “coverage”:http://www.google.com/search?q=coburn+site%3Athemonkeycage.org&hl=en&num=10&lr=&ft=i&cr=&safe=images of Senator Coburn.