This thesis provides a first-of-its kind benchmark on the extent to which academically-trained professionals in the United States are availed of opportunities to directly deliver evidence to the United States Congress, as well as how contemporary party politics shapes this system. We randomly sample and manually code the educational backgrounds of 2,147 witnesses from 32 Congressional Committee Hearings that occurred between 2001 and 2020. This study reveals three key findings. The first is that academically-trained professionals have extensive access to the halls of Congress. Second, that all types of degrees have at least some representation amongst witness calls. The third is that the above patterns are the same regardless of which party is in charge, and relatively similar even across topics.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

United States--Congress; Evidence, Expert--United States; Party affiliation

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Science, Technology and Public Policy (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Public Policy (CLA)


Nathan R. Lee

Advisor/Committee Member

Dylan Boynton

Advisor/Committee Member

Eric Hittinger


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes