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Choosing the Field of Study in Postsecondary Education: Do Expected Earnings Matter?

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  • Magali Beffy

    (CREST-INSEE, France)

  • Denis Fougère

    (CNRS, CREST-INSEE, France, CEPR, United Kingdom and IZA, Germany)

  • Arnaud Maurel

    (Duke University, CREST-INSEE, France, and IZA, Germany)

Abstract

This paper examines the determinants of the choice of the college major when the length of studies and future earnings are uncertain. We estimate a three-stage schooling decision model, focusing on the effect of expected earnings on major choice. We control for dynamic selection through the use of mixture distributions. Exploiting variations across the French business cycle in the relative returns to the majors, our results yield a very low, though significant, elasticity of major choice to expected earnings. This suggests that at least for the French university context, nonpecuniary factors are a key determinant of schooling choices. © 2011 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 94 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 334-347

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:94:y:2012:i:1:p:334-347

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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Expected earnings do not matter for post-secondary studies
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-06-15 09:50:00
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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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. Alena Bicakova & Stepan Jurajda, 2014. "The Quiet Revolution and the Family: Gender Composition of Tertiary Education and Early Fertility Patterns," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp504, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
  3. Liu, Kai & Salvanes, Kjell G. & Sørensen, Erik Ø., 2012. "Good Skills in Bad Times: Cyclical Skill Mismatch and the Long-term Effects of Graduating in a Recession," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 16/2012, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics.
  4. Stefanescu, Razvan & Dumitriu, Ramona & Nistor, Costel, 2011. "Motivations for the Bessarabian youth to study in Romanian universities," MPRA Paper 41621, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 02 Oct 2011.
  5. Sjoquist, David L. & Winters, John V., 2013. "State Merit-Aid Programs and College Major: A Focus on STEM," IZA Discussion Papers 7381, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Bradley, Elizabeth S., 2012. "The Effect of the Business Cycle on Freshman Major Choice," MPRA Paper 42412, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Ronni Pavan & Josh Kinsler, 2012. "The Specificity of General Human Capital: Evidence from College Major Choice," 2012 Meeting Papers 1036, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Arnaud Maurel & Xavier D'Haultfoeuille, 2011. "Inference on an Extended Roy Model, with an Application to Schooling Decisions in France," Working Papers 11-10, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  9. Peter Arcidiacono & Paul B. Ellickson, 2011. "Practical Methods for Estimation of Dynamic Discrete Choice Models," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 3(1), pages 363-394, 09.
  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. Tacsir, Ezequiel, 2010. "Choosing a career in Science and Technology," MERIT Working Papers 014, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  12. Legge, Stefan & Schmid, Lukas, 2013. "Rankings, Random Successes, and Individual Performance," Economics Working Paper Series 1340, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
  13. Matthew Wiswall & Basit Zafar, 2011. "Determinants of college major choice: identification using an information experiment," Staff Reports 500, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  14. Matthew Wiswall & Basit Zafar, 2011. "Belief updating among college students: evidence from experimental variation in information," Staff Reports 516, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  15. Aitor Lacuesta & Sergio Puente & Ernesto Villanueva, 2011. "The schooling response to a sustained increase in low-skill wages: evidence from Spain 1989-2009," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 1208, Banco de Espa�a.
  16. Tuomo Suhonen, 2012. "The role of distances and parents’ educational background in university field of study choice," ERSA conference papers ersa12p751, European Regional Science Association.
  17. 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).

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