Political Identification of STEM Workers in the US
AuthorDavidson, Zachary P.
AdvisorPeoples, Clayton D.
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The world is increasingly moving toward a technology- and information-based economy. With this change, a growing occupational category involves working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). What is the political identification of STEM workers? Quantitative work has shown that professionals, in general, are moving toward the Democratic Party (see, e.g. Hout, Brooks, and Manza 1995); but a qualitative interview-based study suggested that STEM workers, specifically, may be more conservative than others (Zussman 1985). The primary purpose of this study is to bring quantitative analyses to bear on this question to determine if STEM workers, are, indeed, more conservative than others. A secondary purpose is to begin explaining why they are more conservative, if such a pattern is found. The primary research hypothesis follows Zussman (1985) and predicts that STEM workers are significantly more conservative than other workers; a secondary hypothesis is that this significant difference will remain even when controlling for key demographic variables. Regression analyses provide support for both hypotheses, which suggests that STEM workers are, indeed, more conservative than others—a pattern that may be rooted in the structure of their work, a la Kohn (1989).