The Duck of Minerva

The William and Mary Survey, 2006-2007

21 February 2007

The Foreign Policy summary (registration required) of the William and Mary “Inside the Ivory Tower” survey is out (as is the full version).

The 2006-2007 survey was conducted by Daniel Maliniak, Amy Oakes, Susan Peterson, and Michael J. Tierney. I participated in a trial run, but I’m not sure if I filled out the final version. No matter.

Part of the survey involves ranking PhD, MA, and undergraduate programs in international studies. In essence, these questions measure the reputation of various programs across the field. How did the institutions of international-relations bloggers fare?

First, PhD programs:

1. Harvard University
2. Princeton University
3. Columbia University
4. Stanford University
5. University of Chicago
6. Yale University
7. University of California, Berkeley
8. University of Michigan
9. University of California (San Diego?)
10. Cornell University
11. Mass. Institute of Technology
12. Johns Hopkins University
13. Georgetown University
14. Duke University
15. Ohio State University
16. New York University
17. University of Minnesota
18. University of California, Los Angeles
19. Tufts University
20. University of Rochester

This data, as I mentioned above, measures reputation among survey participants and little else. That might account for the fact that Tufts, which does not have an academic PhD program, breaks the top-20. The survey also, at least in my view, displays some good evidence about continued lags in reputation and current performance.

Georgetown and Johns Hopkins both moved up this year, largely because of Duke’s drop. Now, I have nothing but wonderful things to say about Georgetown–at least most of the time–but I wouldn’t rank us above some of the programs that come in below us on this list.

One of the major problems with any of these kinds of rankings is that they don’t specify “in what dimension of international relations.” Rochester, for example, is much better than number 20 if you want to do formal modeling; Minnesota, Ohio State, and Cornell are the premiere schools for constructivist scholarship.

The MA rankings demonstrate, at least in my view, a better (but still imperfect) correlation between rankings and quality:

1. Georgetown University
2. Johns Hopkins University
3. Harvard University
4. Tufts University
5. Columbia University
6. Princeton University
7. George Washington University
8. American University
9. University of Denver
10. Syracuse University
11. University of California
12. University of Chicago
12. Yale University
14. Stanford University
15. University of Pittsburgh
16. University of California
16. University of Maryland
18. Mass. Institute of Technology
18. Monterey Institute of Int’l Studies
20. University of Southern California

Georgetown appears to have edged out SAIS this year. I wonder if that represents a sampling change?

In the undergraduate international-relations program rankings, I think Georgetown probably underperformed at number 4:

1. Harvard University
2. Princeton University
3. Stanford University
4. Georgetown University
5. Columbia University
6. Yale University
7. University of Chicago
8. University of California, Berkeley
9. Dartmouth College
10. George Washington University
11. American University
12. University of Michigan
13. Tufts University
14. Swarthmore College
14. University of California (?)
16. Cornell University
17. Brown University
18. Williams College
19. Duke University
19. Johns Hopkins University

For those of you who don’t care about the inside baseball, the most interesting parts of the survey concern academics’ attitudes towards foreign policy. We’re very pessimistic about the prospects for democracy in Iraq in the next 10-15 years (85% say “unlikely” or “very unlikely”). We tend to think (and this surprised me a bit) that the “Israel lobby” has too much influence over US foreign policy, and so forth. These, and other opinions, do vary with political orientation (conservative, liberal, and moderate) but not as much as one would expect. Conservative and moderate international-relations scholars don’t, for example, care very much for the current administration.

One of the more intriguing findings:

This support for multilateralism is remarkably stable across ideology. In the cases of both Iran and North Korea, liberals and conservatives agree that U.N.-sanctioned action is preferable. More striking are the attitudes of self-identified realists. Scholars of realism traditionally argue that international institutions such as the United Nations do not (and should not) influence the choices of states on issues of war and peace. But we found realists to be much more supportive of military intervention with a U.N. imprimatur than they are of action without such backing. Among realists, in fact, the gap between support for multilateral and unilateral intervention in North Korea is identical to the gap among scholars of the liberal tradition, whose theories explicitly favor cooperation.

I don’t believe this is because realists have suddenly turned into Wilsonsians; rather, I suspect the data reflects how a broad cross-section of realist scholars have come to the conclusion that international legitimacy greases the wheels of power and makes counterbalancing less likely. Thank (or blame) the Bush administration.

Anyway, as they say in blogland “read the whole thing.” I hope Mike and his colleagues sort out their technical problem so we can access the complete report.