College majors and the knowledge content of jobs
AbstractCollege students select majors for a variety of reasons, including expected returns in the labor market. This paper demonstrates an empirical method linking a census of US degrees and fields of study with measures of the knowledge content of jobs. The study combines individual wage and employment data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) with ratings on 27 knowledge content areas from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), thus providing measures of the economy-wide knowledge content of jobs. Fields of study and corresponding BA degree data from the Digest of Education Statistics for 1976-1977 through 2001-2002 are linked to these 27 content areas. We find that the choice of college major is responsive to changes in the knowledge composition of jobs and, more problematically, the wage returns to types of knowledge. Women's degree responsiveness to knowledge content appears to be stronger than men's, but their response to wage returns is weak.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.
Volume (Year): 27 (2008)
Issue (Month): 5 (October)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev
Other versions of this item:
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
- I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Julian R. Betts, 1996. "What Do Students Know about Wages? Evidence from a Survey of Undergraduates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(1), pages 27-56.
- Montmarquette, C. & Cannings, C. & Mahseredjian,S., 1997.
"How do Young People Choose College Majors?,"
Cahiers de recherche
9719, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
- MONTMARQUETTE, Claude & CANNINGS, Kathy & MAHSEREDJIAN, Sophie, 1997. "How do Young People Choose College Majors?," Cahiers de recherche 9719, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
- Kathy Cannings & Sophie Mahseredjian & Claude Montmarquette, 1997. "How Do Young People Choose College Majors ?," CIRANO Working Papers 97s-38, CIRANO.
- Katharine G. Abraham & Melissa A. Clark, 2003.
"Financial Aid and Students' College Decisions: Evidence from the District of Columbia's Tuition Assistance Grant Program,"
Mathematica Policy Research Reports
3675, Mathematica Policy Research.
- Katharine G. Abraham & Melissa A. Clark, 2006. "Financial Aid and Students’ College Decisions: Evidence from the District of Columbia Tuition Assistance Grant Program," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(3).
- Katharine Abraham & Melissa A. Clark, 2003. "Financial Aid and Students' College Decisions: Evidence from the District of Columbia's Tuition Assistance Grant Program," NBER Working Papers 10112, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David Card, 2000.
"Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems,"
NBER Working Papers
7769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Card, David, 2001. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1127-60, September.
- Susan Dynarski, 2002. "The Behavioral and Distributional Implications of Aid for College," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 279-285, May.
- Jack Fiorito & Robert C. Duffenbach, 1982. "Market and nonmarket influences on curriculum choice by college students," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 36(1), pages 88-101, October.
- Arcidiacono, Peter, 2004.
"Ability sorting and the returns to college major,"
Journal of Econometrics,
Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 343-375.
- Mark C. Berger, 1988. "Predicted future earnings and choice of college major," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 41(3), pages 418-429, April.
- Thomas N. Daymonti & Paul J. Andrisani, 1984. "Job Preferences, College Major, and the Gender Gap in Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(3), pages 408-428.
- Blakemore, Arthur E & Low, Stuart A, 1984. "Sex Differences in Occupational Selection: The Case of College Majors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(1), pages 157-63, February.
- Boudarbat, Brahim & Montmarquette, Claude, 2007. "Choice of Fields of Study of Canadian University Graduates: The Role of Gender and their Parents’ Education," IZA Discussion Papers 2552, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Robst, John, 2007. "Education and job match: The relatedness of college major and work," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 397-407, August.
- Sarah E. Turner & William G. Bowen, 1999. "Choice of major: The changing (unchanging) gender gap," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(2), pages 289-313, January.
- Finnie, Ross & Frenette, Marc, 2003. "Earning differences by major field of study: evidence from three cohorts of recent Canadian graduates," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 179-192, April.
- Webbink, Dinand & Hartog, Joop, 2004. "Can students predict starting salaries? Yes!," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 103-113, April.
- Dan A. Black & Seth Sanders & Lowell Taylor, 2003. "The Economic Reward for Studying Economics," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(3), pages 365-377, July.
- Julian R. Betts & Laurel L. McFarland, 1995. "Safe Port in a Storm: The Impact of Labor Market Conditions on Community College Enrollments," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(4), pages 741-765.
- Solomon William Polachek, 1978. "Sex differences in college major," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 31(4), pages 498-508, July.
- Boudarbat, Brahim, 2008. "Field of study choice by community college students in Canada," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 79-93, February.
- Maestri, Virginia, 2009.
"Promoting scientific faculties: does it work? Evidence from Italy,"
31546, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Oct 2010.
- Maestri, Virginia, 2013. "Promoting scientific faculties: Does it work? Evidence from Italy," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 168-180.
- Antecol, Heather & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A., 2013. "Do psychosocial traits help explain gender segregation in young people's occupations?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 59-73.
- Hilmer, Michael J. & Hilmer, Christiana E., 2012. "On the relationship between student tastes and motivations, higher education decisions, and annual earnings," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 66-75.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.