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Study: Scott Walker's Lack of a College Degree Doesn't Matter Politically

Study: Scott Walker's Lack of a College Degree Doesn't Matter Politically
(Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 08 July 2015 11:58 AM

As questions swirl about whether Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is fit to be president because he does not have a college degree, a new report offers proof that it doesn't matter in politics.

Walker, a Republican, is expected to announce his candidacy for president next week.

A new report, according to Politico, looks at the history of politicians without college degrees and discovered it's not a determining factor in whether or not someone is a good politician.

In Congress, for example, politicians without degrees from schools of higher learning introduced the same number of bills that were successful as their colleagues who had degrees. And voters voted them in and also re-elected them just as often as the other side of the coin.

The report argues that politicians are not typical, everyday Americans who earn a college degree and then work a day job. Politicians are a different breed, as they are carefully screened before entering office. Education isn't necessarily the most important thing when someone is running for public office.

In Walker's case, he left Marquette University after his junior year when the Red Cross offered him a job. He intended to return and get a degree, but his political life took over.

Walker has said in recent months that his lack of a degree is a non-issue, as his political experience speaks for itself. He told fellow Republican lawmakers in May that his lack of a degree could actually help him politically.

In the report examining the importance of college degrees in politics, Nicholas Carnes and Noam Lupu of Duke University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, respectively, conclude that having a college degree does not necessarily make someone a better politician.

"But are more educated leaders at least better on average? Can scholars use education as a rough proxy for leader quality in empirical analyses? Should citizens prefer candidates with more formal education to those with less, all else equal?" the pair wrote.

"The findings in this paper suggest that the answer is, 'not really.' We examined the links between education and the broadest collection of outcomes ever studied, and we consistently found negligible differences between leaders with college degrees and leaders without them.

"The idea that education is a marker of leader quality is far from the empirical regularity it is made out to be."

A Boston Globe story earlier this year detailed Walker's political life at Marquette, during which he was an active member of the student government and Republican groups.

"The reason I went to college, in large part, was not just to get an education for an education's sake, but to get a job," Walker said in 2013, reports the Globe. "I always thought I'd get back and I may still do. Someday, maybe in the next few years, I'll embark on finishing my degree."

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As questions swirl about whether Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is fit to be president because he does not have a college degree, a new report offers proof that it doesn't matter in politics.
scott walker, Marquette, college, degree
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2015-58-08
Wednesday, 08 July 2015 11:58 AM
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