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An Economic Analysis Of Identity And Career Choice

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  • MARIA K. HUMLUM
  • KRISTIN J. KLEINJANS
  • HELENA S. NIELSEN

Abstract

Standard economic models which focus on pecuniary payoffs cannot explain why there are highly able individuals who choose careers with low pecuniary returns. Therefore, financial incentives are unlikely to be effective in influencing career choices of these individuals. Based on Akerlof and Kranton (2000), we consider a model of career choice and identity where individuals derive non-pecuniary identity payoffs. Using factor analysis on a range of attitude questions, we find two factors related to identity (career orientation and social orientation), which are important for educational choices. The implication is that policymakers and institutions of higher education need to focus on identity related issues rather than just improved financial incentives if they aim at attracting the high ability youth to occupations with excess demand for labor.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.

Volume (Year): 50 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (01)
Pages: 39-61

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:50:y:2012:i:1:p:39-61

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References

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  1. Ward, Melanie E & Sloane, Peter J, 2000. "Non-pecuniary Advantages versus Pecuniary Disadvantages; Job Satisfaction among Male and Female Academics in Scottish Universities," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 47(3), pages 273-303, August.
  2. Lazear, Edward P, 1977. "Education: Consumption or Production?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 569-97, June.
  3. Scott, Anthony, 2001. "Eliciting GPs' preferences for pecuniary and non-pecuniary job characteristics," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 329-347, May.
  4. Karla Hoff & Priyanka Pandey, 2006. "Discrimination, Social Identity, and Durable Inequalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 206-211, May.
  5. Edward T. Gullason, 1989. "The Consumption Value of Schooling: An Empirical Estimate of One Aspect," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(2), pages 287-298.
  6. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2004. "Ability sorting and the returns to college major," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 343-375.
  7. Daniel J. Benjamin & James J. Choi & A. Joshua Strickland, 2007. "Social Identity and Preferences," NBER Working Papers 13309, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Spetz, Joanne, 2002. "The value of education in a licensed profession: the choice of associate or baccalaureate degrees in nursing," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 73-85, February.
  9. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2005. "Identity and the Economics of Organizations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 9-32, Winter.
  10. Barbara L. Wolfe & Robert H. Haveman, 2002. "Social and nonmarket benefits from education in an advanced economy," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 47(Jun), pages 97-142.
  11. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2002. "Identity and Schooling: Some Lessons for the Economics of Education," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1167-1201, December.
  12. Quinn, Robert & Price, Jamie, 1998. "The demand for medical education: an augmented human capital approach," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 337-347, June.
  13. Dolton, P J & Makepeace, G H & Van Der Klaauw, W, 1989. "Occupational Choice and Earnings Determination: The Role of Sample Selection and Non-pecuniary Factors," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(3), pages 573-94, July.
  14. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J., 2007. "Identifying and Estimating the Distributions of Ex Post and Ex Ante Returns to Schooling," Labour Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 870-893, December.
  15. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Tacsir, Ezequiel, 2009. "Elección de ocupación: factores personales y aspectos sociales
    [Occupation Choice: Personal factors and Social Aspects]
    ," MPRA Paper 20432, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Favara, Marta, 2012. "The Cost of Acting "Girly": Gender Stereotypes and Educational Choices," IZA Discussion Papers 7037, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Corneo, Giacomo, 2013. "Work norms, social insurance and the allocation of talent," Discussion Papers 2013/12, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  4. Tacsir, Ezequiel, 2010. "Occupation Choice: Family, Social and Market Influences," MERIT Working Papers 013, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  5. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 2007. "Symbolic values, occupational choice, and economic development," Discussion Papers 2007/2, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  6. Juan Castro & Gustavo Yamada & Omar Arias, 2011. "Higher Education Decisions in Peru: On the Role of Financial Constraints, Skills, and Family Background," Working Papers, Departamento de Economía, Universidad del Pacífico 11-14, Departamento de Economía, Universidad del Pacífico, revised Dec 2011.
  7. Mocan, Naci & Raschke, Christian, 2014. "Economic Well-being and Anti-Semitic, Xenophobic, and Racist Attitudes in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 8126, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Corneo, Giacomo, 2013. "Work norms, social insurance and the allocation of talent," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 79-92.
  9. Marcus Klemm, 2012. "Job Security and Fertility: Evidence from German Reunification," Ruhr Economic Papers, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen 0379, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  10. Borghans, Lex & Golsteyn, Bart H.H. & Stenberg, Anders, 2013. "Does Expert Advice Improve Educational Choice?," IZA Discussion Papers 7649, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Corneo, Giacomo, 2013. "Work Norms, Social Insurance and the Allocation of Talent," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University 405, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.

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