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Student Uncertainty and Major Choice

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Author Info

  • Joshua Congdon-Hohman

    ()
    (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)

  • Anil Nathan

    ()
    (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)

  • Justin Svec

    ()
    (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)

Abstract

This paper examines how model uncertainty affects students' choice of major. To account for this uncertainty, the students apply a max-min operator to their optimization problem. We show analytically that greater uncertainty in a particular major causes the student to be less likely to choose that major and that greater uncertainty across all majors causes fewer students to major in science, technology, engineering, and math. To test the model's assumptions and predictions, we have conducted a novel survey of college freshmen. The results from this survey are consistent with assumptions and implications of the theoretical model.

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File URL: http://college.holycross.edu/RePEc/hcx/Congdon-Nathan-Svec_MajorChoice.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1301.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hcx:wpaper:1301

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Related research

Keywords: Major choice; model uncertainty; STEM;

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References

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  1. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2004. "Ability sorting and the returns to college major," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 343-375.
  2. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1.
  3. Arcidiacono, Peter & Hotz, V. Joseph & Kang, Songman, 2012. "Modeling college major choices using elicited measures of expectations and counterfactuals," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 166(1), pages 3-16.
  4. Price, Joshua, 2010. "The effect of instructor race and gender on student persistence in STEM fields," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 901-910, December.
  5. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Assignment of Workers to Jobs in an Economy with Coordination Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 996-1025, October.
  6. Tomasz Strzalecki, 2011. "Axiomatic Foundations of Multiplier Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(1), pages 47-73, 01.
  7. Kocherlakota, Narayana & Phelan, Christopher, 2009. "On the robustness of laissez-faire," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(6), pages 2372-2387, November.
  8. Justin Svec, 2010. "Optimal Fiscal Policy with Robust Control," Working Papers 1004, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics.
  9. Hansen, Lars Peter & Sargent, Thomas J., 2005. "Recursive robust estimation and control without commitment," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2005,28, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  10. Basit Zafar, 2011. "How Do College Students Form Expectations?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 301 - 348.
  11. Richard Dennis, 2007. "Model uncertainty and monetary policy," Working Paper Series 2007-09, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  12. Anastasios G. Karantounias with Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 2009. "Managing expectations and fiscal policy," Working Paper 2009-29, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  13. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Robert Baumann & Justin Svec, 2013. "The Impact of Political Uncertainty: A Robust Control Approach," Working Papers 1306, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics.

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