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Modelling Curriculum Choice at A-level: Why is Business Studies More Popular than Economics?

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Author Info

  • Ray Bachan

    ()
    (University of Brighton)

  • Michael Barrow

    (University of Sussex)

Abstract

This paper uses A-level Information System (ALIS) data to quantify the determinants of the choice between Economics and Business Studies at A-level. These subjects are often perceived as close curriculum options and possible substitutes in the UK. Subject choice is modelled using an underlying latent variable approach. On the basis of a series of counterfactual exercises an overall average grade differential, a measure of their comparative difficulty, is estimated to be 1.3 (old) UCAS points, equivalent to approximately two-thirds of a letter grade, in favour of Business Studies. The estimating equation suggests that a unit increase in the grade differential increases the probability of selecting Business Studies over Economics by approximately 12 percentage points. There is evidence that females are less likely to choose Economics over Business Studies and the more able students, in terms of their average GCSE score and mathematical ability, are more likely to select Economics. There is also some evidence of parental background characteristics and ethnicity exerting significant effects on the choice between these two subjects.

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File URL: http://www.economicsnetwork.ac.uk/iree/v5n2/bachan.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Economics Network, University of Bristol in its journal International Review of Economics Education.

Volume (Year): 5 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 58-80

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Handle: RePEc:che:ireepp:v:5:y:2006:i:2:p:58-80

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  1. Ray Bachan & Barry Reilly, 2003. "A Comparison of Academic Performance in A-Level Economics between Two Years," International Review of Economic Education, Economics Network, University of Bristol, vol. 2(1), pages 8-24.
  2. Barry Reilly & Ray Bachan, 2005. "A comparison of A-level performance in economics and business studies: How much more difficult is economics?," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(1), pages 85-108.
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Cited by:
  1. Don J. Webber & Andrew Mearman, 2009. "Students’ perceptions of economics:Identifying demand for further study," Working Papers 0914, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.

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