Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The demographics of top law professors   posted by Razib @ 7/10/2007 04:08:00 PM

Via a reader I found a Imbler Volokh post on the demographics of top yong law professors. You can see his spreadsheet here. Volokh says:
If you thought the sex picture was hard to explain, try this: If you look at the same top 50 most-cited who entered law teaching since 1992, you also see that (by my rough count, and judging by likely ethnicity, not by religiosity) 19 are Jews [38%], a group that makes up 2% of the full-time working population. Part of this is the wild overrepresentation of Jews generally among the legal professoriate, a number that itself is hard to explain - Jim Lindgren's tentative survey from several years ago reported that 26% of law professors at top 100 law schools were Jews - but the numbers exceed even that.

Another 12 are Asians (meaning East or South Asians), a group that makes up 4% of the full-time working population. If you separate out South Asians (since in many ways it's just zany to lump Indians together with Chinese, or for that matter to lump together Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese), you'll find that 5 of the top 50 are South Asians, though South Asians make up 2/3 of 1% of the population. I don't recall precisely what fraction of the legal academy is Asian, but my recollection is that the fraction is no more than 5%, and thus far less than the 24% (or 10% for South Asians).

I generally track data about the medical and the scientific profession because I have friends in these fields (e.g., around 1 out of 20 to 1 out of 10 medical students in the USA currently is probably of South Asian ancestry). I didn't know much about law, it seems a field where cultural fluency matters much more than in medicine or the natural sciences, so I assumed that persons of Asian ancestry wouldn't be well represented.