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Market and nonmarket influences on curriculum choice by college students


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  • Jack Fiorito
  • Robert C. Duffenbach
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    Many labor economists and other researchers have attempted to develop models of the workings of the market for college-trained manpower. This paper reviews this previous research on curriculum choice and then tests an alternative model with data on choices made by male baccalaureates across a wide spectrum of science and engineering curricula. The influence of both methodology and the analytical framework on the identification of relevant variables is explored. Particular attention is then given to nonmarket influences, typically assumed in previous studies not to play a significant role. Results for pooled and time-series specifications provide some support for the hypothesis that curriculum choice follows labor market developments, but they also suggest that abilities and interests may be important predictors. (Abstract courtesy JSTOR.)

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School in its journal ILR Review.

    Volume (Year): 36 (1982)
    Issue (Month): 1 (October)
    Pages: 88-101

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    Handle: RePEc:ilr:articl:v:36:y:1982:i:1:p:88-101

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    Cited by:
    1. Kathy Cannings & Sophie Mahseredjian & Claude Montmarquette, 1997. "How Do Young People Choose College Majors ?," CIRANO Working Papers, CIRANO 97s-38, CIRANO.
    2. Marco Bonomo & René Garcia, 1997. "Tests of Conditional Asset Pricing Models in the Brazilian Stock Market," CIRANO Working Papers, CIRANO 97s-20, CIRANO.
    3. Carol Nickerson & Norbert Schwarz & Ed Diener, 2007. "Financial aspirations, financial success, and overall life satisfaction: who? and how?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 467-515, December.
    4. Boudarbat, Brahim, 2008. "Field of study choice by community college students in Canada," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 79-93, February.
    5. Borghans, Lex & De Grip, Andries & Heijke, Hans, 1996. "Labor market information and the choice of vocational specialization," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 59-74, February.
    6. J. Farley Ordovensky Staniec, 2004. "The Effects of Race, Sex, and Expected Returns on the Choice of College Major," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 549-562, Fall.
    7. Bartolj, Tjaša & Polanec, Sašo, 2012. "College major choice and ability: Why is general ability not enough?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 996-1016.
    8. Freeman, James A. & Hirsch, Barry T., 2008. "College majors and the knowledge content of jobs," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 517-535, October.
    9. Montmarquette, Claude & Mourji, Fouzi & Mahseredjian, Sophie, 1998. "Les choix de filières universitaires par les lycéens marocains : préférences et contraintes," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 74(3), pages 485-522, septembre.
    10. Gunderson, Morley & Krashinsky, Harry, 2009. "Do Education Decisions Respond to Returns by Field of Study?," CLSSRN working papers, Vancouver School of Economics clsrn_admin-2009-62, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 28 Nov 2009.


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