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Is there a Hidden Technical Potential?

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Author Info

  • Hessel Oosterbeek

    ()
    (University of Amsterdam)

  • Dinand Webbink

    ()
    (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the determinants of choosing a technical study at university level and of persistence in it. We find that - in the Netherlands - there is a low correlation between the probability of a student choosing a technical study and the probability of persistence in it. This implies that a substantial number of technically talented people choose non-technicalstudies. Especially female students and students from high income families are unlikely to attend a technical study but these students are relatively successful in such studies. A large fraction of these technically talented students are attracted to medical studies and law schools, where they are no more likely to persist in these schools than other medical and lawstudents. This finding is predicted by the tournament model in which rewards are based on relative performance instead of absolute performance. This discussion paper has resulted in a publication in De Economist 145(2), 159-77.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 97-012/3.

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Date of creation: 28 Jan 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:19970012

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Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl

Related research

Keywords: allocation of talent; occupational choice; educational choice;

References

References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Robert J. Willis & Sherwin Rosen, 1978. "Education and Self-Selection," NBER Working Papers 0249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Sherwin Rosen, 1991. "The Market for Lawyers," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 72, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  3. Venti, Steven F. & Wise, David A., 1982. "Test scores, educational opportunities, and individual choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 35-63, June.
  4. Hartog, Joop & Pfann, Gerard & Ridder, Geert, 1989. "(Non-)graduation and the earnings function : An inquiry on self-selection," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(7), pages 1373-1395, September.
  5. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1990. "The Allocation of Talent: Implications for Growth," NBER Working Papers 3530, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Van de Ven, Wynand P. M. M. & Van Praag, Bernard M. S., 1981. "The demand for deductibles in private health insurance : A probit model with sample selection," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 229-252, November.
  7. Colm Harmon; & Ian Walker, 1995. "Estimates of Economic Return to Schooling in the UK," Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series n540195, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
  8. Kenny, Lawrence W, et al, 1979. "Returns to College Education: An Investigation of Self-Selection Bias Based on the Project Talent Data," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 20(3), pages 775-89, October.
  9. 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.
  10. Trost, Robert P & Lee, Lung-Fei, 1984. "Technical Training and Earnings: A Polychotomous Choice Model with Selectivity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(1), pages 151-56, February.
  11. Freeman, Richard B, 1975. "Legal "Cobwebs": A Recursive Model of the Market for New Lawyers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 57(2), pages 171-79, May.
  12. Harmon, C & Ian Walker, 1995. "Estimates of the economic return to schooling for the UK," IFS Working Papers W95/12, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  13. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-64, October.
  14. Zabalza, A, 1979. "The Determinants of Teacher Supply," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 131-47, January.
  15. Zarkin, Gary A, 1985. "Occupational Choice: An Application to the Market for Public School Teachers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(2), pages 409-46, May.
  16. Venti, Steven F. & Wise, David A., 1983. "Individual attributes and self-selection of higher education : College attendance versus college completion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 1-32, June.
  17. Garen, John, 1984. "The Returns to Schooling: A Selectivity Bias Approach with a Continuous Choice Variable," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(5), pages 1199-1218, September.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Maestri, Virginia, 2009. "Promoting scientific faculties: does it work? Evidence from Italy," MPRA Paper 31546, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Oct 2010.
  2. Rochat, Denis & Demeulemeester, Jean-Luc, 2001. "Rational choice under unequal constraints: the example of Belgian higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 15-26, February.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. Bratti, Massimiliano, 2006. "Social Class and Undergraduate Degree Subject in the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 1979, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. 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).

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