State commitments to public higher education vary widely and are determined in part by unique political environments. Based on research suggesting that policy-makers’ personal characteristics affect policy outcomes, this work addresses the following: Do states with a larger percentage of legislators with a public higher education degree spend more on public higher education than do other legislatures, all other things equal? To answer this question, this author will use a robust time-series dataset of the educational backgrounds of state legislators. Currently, there are 7,383 state legislators. In 2005, I compiled the first wave of this database, which included the educational backgrounds of 6,517 state legislators. This fall 2014, I am guiding the collection of the second wave of data. Findings from this research will evaluate the extent to which legislators advocate for spending based on their own demographic profiles.
Megan Thiele and Kristen Shorette. "State Spending on Public Higher Education: Do the Educational Histories of Legislators Matter?" Pacific Sociological Association 86th Annual Meeting (2015).