The Sciences

Which state has the most PhDs in the legislature?

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanJun 13, 2011 8:08 AM

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Josh Rosenau points me to a new infographic from The Chronicle of Higher Education. A lot of the stuff isn't too interesting or surprising. Are you surprised that 25% of the state legislators in Arkansas don't have a college degree, the highest in the nation? The lack of public investment in education Arkansas has deep historical and cultural roots, back to its founding in the 19th century. On the other hand there are a few surprising nuggets. You are surely aware of the preponderance of Esquires in the profession of lawmakers in these United States. But can you guess which state has the highest proportion of lawyers in their legislature?

Don't mess with Texas! They'll sue you! How about doctorates? This one might surprise you too:

I suspect the dominance of Nebraska here is because of the prominence of agriculture in the state economy. "Cow colleges" are often factories for the production of local leaders who become the captains of agriculture with education and scientific knowledge in hand. They have interests to be defended! Farm subsidies to maintain! So of course they'll get involved in politics. In New Jersey PhDs leave it to the large staff of lawyers who work for the pharmaceutical company where they're employed to do the lobbying and politicking. One of the more peculiar aspects of the United States is the dominance of graduates of public institutions in those regions ostensibly most hostile to generous disbursement from the public fisc. In contrast, very Lefty states are often much more weighted toward graduates of elite private universities. Here's the breakdown:

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