NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Most Lawmakers Lack Education in Economics

September 12, 2011

The vast majority of lawmakers lack an academic background in business or economics, according to a study by the Employment Policies Institute (EPI), reports Politico.

  • Only 13.7 percent majored in business or accounting and 8.4 percent have an economics degree.
  • On the Senate budget committee, five out of 23 members -- about 20 percent -- have a business/accounting or economic background.
  • On the House side, just over 20 percent hold academic degrees in business or economics.
  • The most popular majors among members were government and the humanities, with over half -- 55.7 percent -- bringing home a degree in those fields.
  • There are a number of science students in the halls of Congress, with 11.5 percent majoring in science or technology-related fields.

While typically using the undergraduate degree, EPI wrote that it classified some members according to their advanced degree if it applied to the study.  The study excluded 24 members they did not find a specific degree subject for, and also did not count non-voting representatives.

Source:  MacKenzie Weinger, "Study: 8 in 10 Lawmakers Lack Education in Economics," Politico, August 23, 2011.

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