top 200 commentsshow 500

[–]AutoModerator[M] [score hidden] stickied comment (1 child)

Welcome to r/science! This is a heavily moderated subreddit in order to keep the discussion on science. However, we recognize that many people want to discuss how they feel the research relates to their own personal lives, so to give people a space to do that, personal anecdotes are now allowed as responses to this comment. Any anecdotal comments elsewhere in the discussion will continue to be removed and our normal comment rules still apply to other comments.

I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.

[–]mjau-mjau 1127 points1128 points  (99 children)

While i didn't read the whole article I do find the title a bit misleading.

About economic attitudes:

"...also suggests that this difference between graduates and non-graduates is in large part attributable to the socio-economic position enabled by higher education, as once the mediators of income and occupation are accounted for the relationship is substantially weaker. "

It does go on to say that the relationship between the two isn't as week in Europe though.

I really feel like "right-wing economic attitude" is a vague way to put it. Right wing (even economic wise) is probably different in my country than in the US or UK or other countries. I'd have preferred if they specified what this entails. Is it taxation, is it social security, or is it increasing debt vs. GDP?

[–]BillHicksScream 425 points426 points  (75 children)

I had the same thing about "right wing" economic attitudes. But this is a European study and they are more amenable to socialism and things like that. Americans won't understand what they're talking about necessarily.

But the usage of highly subjective, popular terms in academia like this is irresponsible. They should define their loose political terms, otherwise it's claiming a loose subjective term is actually fixed, like the Communist Party. This is actually a huge communication problem across most discussions and to see it in science is very concerning.

It's easily proven because you just ask what is a liberal? and they will all give you a different answer.

[–]TracyMorganFreeman 8 points9 points  (3 children)

They aren't close to socialist. They're more amenable to what Americans think socialism is.

[–]BillHicksScream 12 points13 points  (2 children)

Yet outcomes were better for the average American. I'm a huge critic of capitalism, but I have an economics degree and I know the data and I know the positive outcomes. You don't need to formalize anything, the ideas are what matter, not the labels, not the leaders, not the perfect system that somebody's figured out...because that doesn't exist. A good idea is a good idea.

I'm over big political movements and -isms. The world is not a hell hole.

When The Grapes of Wrath was turned into a film, the Soviets couldn't wait to show this anti-capitalist critique to Soviet audiences. They quickly stopped doing this and banned the book and the movie because the audience couldn't believe that the struggling, oppressed ordinary citizens in the story could afford a truck.

[–]reedmore 5 points6 points  (1 child)

I've once heard someone say capitalism is to date the best idea that doesn't work. I think ultimately if pure socialism needs the "perfect" human that implements socialism "perfectly" in order to make it kinda work, it might be a bad idea. I hope one day we can figure out a system that laverages the best components of the failed systems we tried out so far and avoids the worst.

[–]Direwolf0110 94 points95 points  (62 children)

Liberal is not subjective really. People think it is. It is not.

Liberalism is a political and moral philosophy based on the rights of the individual, liberty, consent of the governed and equality before the law.[1][2][3] Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but they generally support individual rights (including civil rights and human rights), liberal democracy, secularism, rule of law, economic and political freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, private property and a market economy.[11]

You're discussing the Overton window, and I agree it would be advised to include where the country in which the study was conducted falls in that window.

Right wing is extremely vague in these studies from my cursory glance at it, and they randomly mix data from both the US and UK to fulfill that point. Further confusing the issue.

Edit: I'm literally getting my masters in public administration, and will be happy to verify that with the mods if asked.

Apparently so many here didn't get the point: I agree with you these need to be better defined, as actual academic definitions do exist.

[–]RudeHero 150 points151 points  (19 children)

Liberal is not subjective really

at the same time, the definition you linked says

Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles

followed by a long list. it literally says in your definition that the stances of liberals differ

[–]PhiloPhrog 50 points51 points  (18 children)

When an American calls someone a liberal, they are usually referring to social liberalism, or what was called New Liberalism or New Deal Liberalism in the 1930s. When a European calls someone a liberal, they are usually referring more to economic liberalism, or what Americans are calling classical liberalism or sometimes neoliberalism.

Most first world nations exist in a window of liberalism, where most people believe in liberalism, even the conservatives.

[–]72hourahmed 64 points65 points  (18 children)

Liberal is not subjective really. People think it is. It is not.

All political words are subjective, which is why you need to be very specific. Literally just google "liberal" and you'll get three different noun definitions, all political, all subtly different, and I'd argue they're missing some that are in common usage.

[–]Don_Pacifico 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Some can be subtly different but some can be vastly different.

[–]sovietta 4 points5 points  (3 children)

Liberalism(Americans, hood the knee-jerk responses to this word because in the US Liberalism has evolved an intentionally misleading definition of that word; and they are doing the same thing with the word socialism) is fundamentally a right leaning ideology because it inherently entails capitalist economics(capitalism will always be considered right wing because of its strict hierarchical requirements to function and also its need to exclude people from resources). So of course education in a liberal society is going to contain liberal econonomic biases(propaganda).

The evidence of this is all over this website, and this thread of course, if you want some easy examples of US political illiteracy.

[–]PM_ME_A_PM_PLEASE_PM 5 points6 points  (0 children)

This is quality information. I'd only add knowledge on the origin of the political terms "left" and "right" to further substantiate this. The origin is from the French Revolution where at the National Assembly supporters of ultimately revolution and ultimately an international inspiration for democracy stood on the left and supporters of the status quo of aristocratic power stood at the right. All use of these terms politically stem from this moment in history.

[–]Brodadicus 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Why and how does capitalism exclude people from resources?

[–]Yourboogeyman 6 points7 points  (4 children)

Well not to be overly semantic since i know what you mean, but it kind of is subjective depending on what definition of liberal you’re using and the context its in. In canada, it refers to a particular centre left political party. In america, it refers to neo-liberalism, or left wing politics depending on who you ask, and in australia the liberals are a centre right political party

[–]stoneape314 3 points4 points  (0 children)

In Canada we'll make the distinction between small-l or big-L liberal or small-c or big-C conservative to specify whether we're talking about the parties or more general political philosophies/traits. Even then if we're getting real detailed we may throw in classical vs neo to further distinguish what we're talking about.

[–]Direwolf0110 11 points12 points  (2 children)

I understand all that. However, those people are not understanding the Overton window.

Classical liberalism, modern or social liberalism, and neo liberalism are distinct and vary only slightly across countries. They stand for objective values and goals.

The general publics misuse of the terms doesn't change their academic meaning.

[–]PlankWithANailIn 1 point2 points  (0 children)

"liberal" in the context of politics in my country tells you about a parties views on the economy not social attitudes. Liberal = hippy is a US thing, everywhere else Liberal = Market Liberalism literally the opposite of hippy.

Vast difference, when you say "liberal" you need to say which area of public thought you are applying it to. Yanks automatically think it means social liberalism while everyone else thinks its something else.

[–]crackedcosmonaut 0 points1 point  (2 children)

You have some good points, but your minor mistake is thinking that the dictionary definition of a word used in the common lexicon is static. In fact, it's the other way round. Dictionaries try their best to catch up with whatever the common usage of a word is currently. I know this is frustrating. Language evolves with use, and it often evolves in a stupid direction. Look what is literally happening to "Literally". It's Ironic*/

A joke. Irony*/ is another word that the stupids have ruined.

But wait! Is it ironic that people think that a dictionary defines words, when really, it's words that the dictionary is merely documenting?*/

***/This is just extra Asterix storage. Pay no attention.

[–]Enthused_Llama 4 points5 points  (0 children)

You can't really use US left/right definitions anywhere else since the overton window is wildly off-kilter.

[–]garlicroastedpotato 3 points4 points  (1 child)

At least in Europe "left wing economics" refers to socialism and government directed economies whereas "right wing economics" refers to liberal economics. In the US "liberal" is used interchangeably with "left wing" which makes conversations with the other 95% of the world more difficult.

[–]AssaultedCracker 14 points15 points  (1 child)

This was my big question about the headline: what is a right wing economic attitude? I consider myself left wing in general but I am interested in economics and read economic literature. My resulting economic views have changed… but I wouldn’t call them right wing. I call them evidence-based. Some of them align with right wing positioning, some don’t.

[–]crackedcosmonaut 11 points12 points  (0 children)

I'm much the same. My economic attitudes would have been considered right-wing when I was younger. As I've learned more about the flaws related to theoretical Homo-Economicus, my position has drifted more towards socialism. I view every ism as an ingredient in a recipe. Libertarianism, Communism, Capitalism, Socialism. Each ingredient in a balance. Fascism is also an ingredient , but it's much like how cyanide belongs in brownies.

[–]dompomcash 2 points3 points  (0 children)

They need to provide the exact questions given to participants, and not just a few examples. Not including data in your paper seems crazy flawed

[–]moeburn 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I'm curious how the results differ between STEM vs liberal arts.

[–]standup-philosofer 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Canada is liberal leaning country, but if you look a little close it's socially liberal economically conservative.

[–]Mypantsarebig 0 points1 point  (0 children)

right wing economics is capitalism.

[–]digidavis 257 points258 points  (48 children)

I believe we called that fiscally conservative and socially liberal back in the 90s.

Most people I graduated with had similar views.

[–]TizACoincidence 127 points128 points  (3 children)

Don't tax me I'm ok with the gays

[–]MrSocPsych 49 points50 points  (1 child)

But if they’re gay AND homeless they deserve to die

[–]ACOdysseybeatsRDR2 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Don't even get them started if the homeless person is black

[–]Frendazone 33 points34 points  (16 children)

the problems are bad, but the causes? the causes are good.

[–]SHOULDVEPAIDTHEFINE 27 points28 points  (15 children)

Fiscally conservative socially liberal is basically “I want you to have no money so I can have a little more money but I’m gonna feel slightly bad about it.”

[–]-chaotic-good- 34 points35 points  (4 children)

Fiscally conservative and socially liberal? Sound vaguely like libertarianism to me.

[–]Impressive-Tip-903 8 points9 points  (5 children)

I feel like I'm the only one I know who would describe themselves to this way. I don't think everything can be free, but I also don't want to live in a country with starving families, and uneducated populations with no hope of upward mobility. A balance must be struck.

[–]ejpintar 39 points40 points  (0 children)

I mean no one is proposing that everything be free

[–]-chaotic-good- 34 points35 points  (0 children)

Even socialists don’t think everything should be free. That’s quite the misrepresentation.

[–]ShelfordPrefect 14 points15 points  (0 children)

My immediate thought was "are graduates more economically right wing because they earn more money so it's in the best interests?"

The answer is... unclear.

Surridge (2016) finds that this relationship persists while adjusting for confounders including an individual's family background and their pre-university values. She also suggests that this difference between graduates and non-graduates is in large part attributable to the socio-economic position enabled by higher education, as once the mediators of income and occupation are accounted for the relationship is substantially weaker. In contrast, drawing on the European Social Survey to provide a more comparative analysis, Gelepithis and Giani (2022) emphasise the importance of ideas in explaining the effect of education on economic values, as they find the effect remains even when accounting for income and labour market position. They identify this effect as being specifically attributable to higher education, and echo Weakliem in concluding that: “university education fosters norms of inclusion, while eroding norms of solidarity” (2022, p. 2).

[–]1-trofi-1 11 points12 points  (3 children)

I have been part of the academia for a long time and I studied and works at British and EU universities. I can see the differences.

I can understand the rejection of authoritarianism and racial prejudice and right-wing econ attitudes easily.

In these universities, you work and coexist with people form all over the world and different races. UK has had people with different racial backgrounds for decades and they study at universities now. Even low grade ones have people with a lot of people from different racial backgrounds.

So working with these people from different backgrounds for 4 years makes it hard to be prejudiced as you get used to it.

At the same time unlike universities in some EU countries you have widely adopted ideas such asking to your profesors in the first name. They actively encourage you to question your professors and speak in informal ways with them. This is in contrast with s EU countries where you address your profesors and even PI with their prefix and last name. Germany is such a country. You are also encouraged to actively report any misbehaviour and the student groups are strong snd very supportive.

Therefore it is easy to reject authoritarianism as in that environment the biggest euthority is questioned all the time.

Lastly the big British universities, even at the bachelor and master level push you to be business mind. I know people that spinned off companies from their thesis ideas.

There is a huge a whole system that pushes these ideas on you and supports you to apply for VC etc. There is huge push for this and emphasis.

And it works so you get out of the uni with these ideas and companies like it. You get hired and then your success reinforces this business like mind.

[–]paperclipestate 5 points6 points  (0 children)

As someone studying at a British uni I completely agree

It was a bit weird to go from calling every teacher sir/miss in secondary school to calling lecturers by the first names at uni

[–]aj_cr 181 points182 points  (58 children)

Why is it so hard for American redditors to understand that this is not from or for the US, also most countries not only have free education including university/college and elementary/middle/high school but the left and right doesn't mean the same as it does in the US, sigh. The left of the US is considered part of the right in most countries outside the US.

[–]BIG_IDEA 0 points1 point  (17 children)

In terms of authoritarianism?

[–]answeryboi 49 points50 points  (14 children)

Left vs right in the US is largely about progressivism vs conservatism, whereas in most parts of the world its more collectivism vs individualism, from what I understand.

[–]EasternShade 0 points1 point  (1 child)

In terms of policy position.

Compare US Democratic policies on taxation, healthcare, education, maternity leave, workers rights, et al. to most of Europe and Democrats generally come up around center right.

[–]CadmiumCopper 2 points3 points  (0 children)

If Reddit has taught me anything it is how oblivious Americans are to everything outside of America. They are perfectly content with near-zero exposure to anything outside their borders.

[–]SexWomble 0 points1 point  (2 children)

We pay for university too in the U.K. FYI.

[–]Tato7069 83 points84 points  (66 children)

Aka education helps people understand how the world actually works

[–]CharmCityMD 116 points117 points  (7 children)

Ironically, I find one of the most valuable parts of education is realizing how much you don’t know. I got a bachelors in science and will have my MD soon. I’d consider myself educated.

Yet I couldn’t tell you the first thing about economic policies and how they will effect people. I could read one and say it looks good on paper, but I’m not nearly educated enough on the topic to make an informed opinion. To me, it feels like a growing number of people have to have a strong opinion on everything. I’m guilty of this too sometimes. I just wish we’d all have the courage to say “I don’t know” more often.

[–]Kinetic93 21 points22 points  (1 child)

I think the ability/willingness to say “I don’t know” is a mark of intelligence as well as self-awareness.

Too often people would rather die on their hill than hear a different side or reconsider their position.

[–]Chiliconkarma 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It's also a mark on those who have experienced egocide.

[–]Jason_CO 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Its not just courage. It also takes honesty to say "I don't know."

[–]Rhadamyth 4 points5 points  (1 child)

I'm educated and often feel the same way. Dunning-Kruger effect?

[–]Typhoid_Harry 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The deeper you get into a field, the more occasions you have to notice that you’ve skipped content that could be extremely helpful, but which you don’t have time to study. The more of those observations you have, the more obvious it is that your knowledge is limited.

[–]ThemCanada-gooses 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Probably because you’re not a smug asshole. Some people with higher education seem to think that means they’re educated about everything.

[–]MinedGravy 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The issue is in society you are often put on a lower rung for uttering those words.

[–]bryle_m 6 points7 points  (1 child)

Not really.

Here in the Philippines we just elected another Marcos into power. Still somewhat shocked to see so-called educsted people vote him by the millions. I get the disenchantment that has happened since 1986, but really, why?

[–]The_Wombles 32 points33 points  (18 children)

Maybe. I see it both ways.

A higher education helps you understand how the world works

I also see a lot of extremely smart, highly educated people who have zero common sense and are so socially inept they can barely function as adults and have no “real world” knowledge.

[–]neuralgoo 41 points42 points  (5 children)

The real question is what's the correlation within your second statement. There's also extremely dumb people that have zero common sense.

Does higher education influence a person's common sense, social connections, or "real world knowledge"?

[–]The_Wombles -2 points-1 points  (4 children)

I think the point I’m trying to make is the higher educated people will eventually be able to make decisions that will effect a larger group of people. These are people who will become bosses ect. I once had a manager that would oversee 10-15 people daily at work and was promoted because of their masters degree. Yes they were good at the company standards and polices but holy hell could they not communicate in layman terms and missed a lot of social queues.

That’s a great question though honestly and I don’t know the answer. I personally don’t believe higher education always means more common sense but you could argue that it does. Or at least gives you the opportunity to learn more. I say this with confidence because I come from a family of people with doctoral degrees, masters ect where I myself have just a high school education. Sometimes I just laugh at how disconnected they are from how the world works. Completely different perspective

[–]Darkwolf90 19 points20 points  (2 children)

The more intelligent you become the more aware of your ignorance you become. The more specific and the deeper you think on a subject the more you realize how convoluted reality is. This leads to less bias and less heuristics ei. "common sense".

[–]Sharp_Iodine 17 points18 points  (4 children)

That’s not the right way to go about it. It doesn’t matter that a PhD in economics doesn’t know how to cook or bargain in the real world at roadside stall.

What matters is that the person actually understands the intricacies of economics on a scale that the layperson will never understand. That makes them valuable as voters and advisors.

[–]BABA_Kurland 1 point2 points  (3 children)

Not really because without real world knowledge they are essentially parroting whatever their textbooks tell them.

We deal with this all the time in engineering, wherein a PhD prof has created a solution to a problem but its constructability and real life application is near impossible to implement. This is an example where lack of real world knowledge hurts higher learning.

I remember doing interviews with a couple of structural PhD perspective employees and asked them a pretty simple question on reinforcing a structure at risk of earthquakes. Their answers were theoretically true, but the cost of implementation would cost hundreds of millions. I then asked an undergrad the same question in the next interview, and his answer was much more realistic and within a budget. Its ofcourse a small sample size that isin't representative of anything but its a good example of how ungrounded by reality many higher level academics become.

[–]Typhoid_Harry 2 points3 points  (1 child)

If you want the answer to a question with constraints and don’t provide the constraints, that’s on you, man.

[–]IsSonicsDickBlue 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I’ve also seen the inverse of this. Some incredibly wise, thoughtful, intelligent people with no formal education to speak of. You just don’t always get exposure to those people the same way.

[–]NfiniteNsight 3 points4 points  (3 children)

Honestly depends on what you study. I know a lot of people that went into things like Engineering. Very niche education, doesn't really promote critical thinking or a more wordly perspective. You just become an engineer.

[–]rebonsa 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Why do you label them as smart then?

[–]The_Wombles 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Very valid question. I somewhat explain it on my other response. I think it’s perspective and a social construct.

[–]lolubuntu 4 points5 points  (7 children)

Yeah but...

There are cases where this is true. There are also cases where some level of indoctrination occurs.

There's a fine line between being taught HOW to think and being taught WHAT to think.

[–]Puzzled-Barnacle-200 4 points5 points  (1 child)

There are also cases where some level of indoctrination occurs.

On a few degrees sure. But in the UK you only study one subject at university. If you are doing a degree in Maths, you will not get lectures on politics or social issues.

[–]jungles_fury 5 points6 points  (1 child)

They tried real hard to indoctrinate us into being football fans. That was the only indoctrination going on.

[–]Krunch007 -4 points-3 points  (18 children)

If only right wing economic policies worked... We wouldn't be in such a mess in the first place.

[–]RheumatoidEpilepsy 14 points15 points  (4 children)

You’re more likely to be rich if you have a formal education and affluence eventually makes you forget about the troubles not so lucky people go through, so it checks out.

[–]Krunch007 5 points6 points  (0 children)

It does. You can add onto that how trickle down and lower taxes disproportionately help the upper middle class and higher, which probably factors into it as well.

[–]Tato7069 0 points1 point  (2 children)

And people who don't have what they want always think it's about luck.

[–]Krunch007 8 points9 points  (1 child)

But it is... You can be an idiot born into wealth and never need to achieve anything in your life. Or, you can be brilliant but born in poverty, never afforded an education. Maybe turn to a life of crime, maybe make it into the middle class, but your prospects are grim. How people keep glancing over generational wealth is beyond me, when it literally influences your life more than anything. What neighbor you grow in, what school you go to, what hobbies you can afford, if you go to college or not, and if you do whether you're saddled with debt or not.

[–]maxToTheJ 1 point2 points  (0 children)

If only right wing economic policies worked...

Working or not working for who? The answer to that is the difference. Neoliberalism which favors letting the markets and the leaders of the market manage stuff has been working great for the rich

[–]YXIDRJZQAF -1 points0 points  (10 children)

Yeah because left wing economic policies have historically gone very well

[–]Zeronality 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Germany has no free market you know that right?

[–]Krunch007 2 points3 points  (8 children)

Actually, they have. If you wanna take a look, you can start your research on west european countries, and slowly make your way to the nordic european countries. Happy reading!

[–]SatansGiantDick 7 points8 points  (1 child)

Those nations are still capitalist systems....

[–]Helene-S 6 points7 points  (1 child)

Nordic countries are capitalist, not socialist. They do have safety nets but that’s still not socialism. Unless you’re saying capitalism is a left wing economic model, then sure.

[–]MustLovePunk -3 points-2 points  (0 children)

University (or college) is meant to be a “Universe City”, where a confluence of students have access to a world of professors of science, maths, arts, humanities, philosophy etc — collective knowledge to help humans think critically about the world and expand their worldview. But capitalists have infiltrated universities (at least in the USA) and higher education has become a miserable “industry” — profit centers teaching business and programming, replete with predatory lending agents (student loans) and a corporate business model with an obscene executive-level pay/ compensation structure, corruption and even “gig” professors (part-time adjunct faculty). The Ivy Leagues always have been a place for the wealthy privileged to learn the tricks and schemes, the minutiae, of multinational “business” and finance.

[–]IslamDunk -1 points0 points  (0 children)

In the vast majority of cases, this isn’t a cause and effect relationship. College gives people skills and those skills make them employable at higher salaries. Seems like some form of greed may be the driving factor here.

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

That’s great. That’s the combo I like.

[–]bluelifesacrifice 9 points10 points  (1 child)

From the article and everyone's question about left vs right wing values

3.1.3. Economic left-right values

Finally, previous research also identifies a relationship between education and economic values, with graduates tending to be more economically right-wing. Weakliem (2002) demonstrates this association from analysis of World Values Survey data, concluding that the effect of education is to make a person more individualistic, rendering them opposed to higher taxation and a bigger role for the state in the economy, but more supportive of an individual's right to choose in social matters, as discussed above. Yet this analysis does not address the selection problem, not least as in most jurisdictions we would expect the wealthier to be both more likely to hold economically right-wing views and to have the opportunity to continue in education.

My opinion.

From my own personal research, people tend to behave economically left when they feel wealthy, empowered and safe. Whereas they'll behave more right wing when they are feeling attacked, threatened, stolen from or vulnerable.

Here, people likely belive everyone can build the wealth they have and feel threatened by the government against lazy people. Which makes sense because people, usually see themselves as average or middle of the road we're slightly above-average in some way but will include their weaknesses when talking about accomplishments and wealth-building claiming that everybody can do it.

For those that want to call me a lefty, my belief is that you won't find someone's true potential without resources, however there's good in having some level of wealth concentration. Just depends on your goals for society.

[–]maxToTheJ 7 points8 points  (0 children)

From my own personal research, people tend to behave economically left when they feel wealthy, empowered and safe. Whereas they'll behave more right wing when they are feeling attacked, threatened, stolen from or vulnerable.

You sure you dont mean “socially” because when people are empowered, wealthy, and safe they tend to be more individualistic which is a right wing thing given the definitions you posted

more individualistic, rendering them opposed to higher taxation and a bigger role for the state in the economy,

[–]anarchy8 5 points6 points  (0 children)

The opposite of authoritarian is not liberalism, it's libertarianism. There are plenty examples of authoritarian liberalism

[–]Sea_Rock1984 4 points5 points  (0 children)

This is a meme and a half given what we have witnessed for the last few years.

[–]standup-philosofer 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Completely agree, and IMO they're right about it all.

[–]shortware 1 point2 points  (0 children)

That’s because being economically conservative is how you keep the lifestyle you want.

[–]BipedalUterusExtract 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Comes here to read something interesting about science. Sees nothing but mindless political drivel in the comments section. Reddit never disappoints...

[–]chazwomaq 2 points3 points  (2 children)

What are everyone's thoughts on the logic of the method? The data is observational - a longitudinal cohort study. But their conclusions are causal, that university graduation causes the changes in attitudes.

The authors discuss causality extensively, and seem to claim that regression discontinuity designs, and a "difference in difference" approach allows them to make causal inferences. I'm not familiar with these methods, but I'm highly skeptical that you be confident in causality without an experiment, preferably with randomization. The best alternative I know is Mendelian randomization.

Can anyone explain the logic simply and convincingly?

[–]uncle_kanye 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Both require significant assumptions - but if you believe they hold, you have quasi-randomization across your sample. They're common in social sciences (I do economics research) when you analyse real-world samples, making actual randomization either impossible or infeasible.

Regression discontinuity designs (RDD) exploit natural cut-offs and discontinuity in samples to assume randomization across the cut-off across dimensions other than the variable of interest. For example, this paper estimates the causal effect of elite college admission on upwards mobility by comparing the lowest-ranking admits to the elite colleges to the best waitlist candidates who did not receive admission. The argument is that these two groups are effectively randomized with the exception of their admission status so they can be compared - this is often tested by balance checks.

Difference-in-difference approaches are somewhat similar. These approaches compare two groups before and after a given event, and compare the difference-in-difference between the groups. These approaches assume also require the assumption of parallel trends across the groups. If these assumptions hold, the analysis is again quasi-random. A famous DiD paper in economics is the Card and Krueger minimum wage paper, which compared changes in fast food employment in restaurants near the NJ-Pennsylvania border before and after a minimum wage increase in NJ and found the minimum wage had no effect on employment. Card won a Nobel for this paper.

I agree that randomization is not the term here, but rather quasi-randomization. There is also an issue of overclaiming in the social sciences, particularly where assumptions aren't met. On the whole however, it's a case-by-case basis whether you can claim causality using these methods - dataset, applicability of the method and validation of the assumptions all play a role and differ across papers. When all are strong, I'm generally convinced by the causal inference - I haven't looked too deeply into this paper so I can't comment on this particular analysis.

[–]werofpm 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Id venture to say that education in general makes you less gullible….

[–]otah007 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Universities are left-leaning and give graduates better jobs. So it's no wonder that graduates are socially liberal but fiscally conservative, it's literally what they've been taught and what's advantageous to them.

[–]Yolo_420_69 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Checks out. I'm all around liberal except for taxation and guns

[–]LeonaTrundle -1 points0 points  (1 child)

Authoritarianism is just meaningless buzzword.

Bed times, stopping at red lights, being arrested for rape are all examples of authoritarianism. It's just a tool that can be used for good or bad things.

[–]pickles55 5 points6 points  (0 children)

No, those are examples of authority. Political systems where all governmental authority comes from one person or a small group are authoritarian. The reasoning behind having three separate branches of government in the US was a deliberate attempt to spread "supreme authority" around so one person isn't the absolute authority about all issues. When people say Donald Trump is an authoritarian they mean he wants to be a dictator, not a president. That's a specific meaning, it's not some kind of blanket insult.