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Major Choice: Undergraduate Concentrations and the Probability of Graduation

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  • Cannings, K.
  • Montmarquette, C.
  • Mahseredjian, S.

Abstract

We develop a model of the decision-making process in which the perceived probability of success in a major is the central determinant of the choice of a major. Using 1979-1987 data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we employ a two-step procedure that first evaluates, for all the individuals in the sample, the chances of success in all majors. Second, with a multinominal logit model of discrete choice, we explain the individuals choice of a major with his or her estimated probability of success and characteristics. This paper shows that the choice of college concentration depends on the perceived probability of success in a particular concentration. There are, however significant differences across groups and for students who have a high probability of success in all majors. Nous développons un modèle de décision où la probabilité attendue du succès dans un champ d'éducation devient l'élément central du choix de cette filière. Utilisant des données longitudinales américaines de 1979 à 1987, nous employons une procédure à deux étapes pour évaluer dans un premier temps, pour chacun des individus, leurs chances de réussite dans chacune des filières d'éducation considérées. Par la suite, à l'aide d'un modèle logit multinominal de choix discrets, nous expliquons les choix individuels relativement à ces probabilités anticipées de succès, de même que diverses caractéristiques individuelles et socio-économiques des étudiants. L'étude montre que le choix d'une filière d'éducation dépend de la probabilité perçue du succès dans cette filière particulière. Il y a, par ailleurs, des différences significatives selon les groupes sociaux et selon le talent des étudiants.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 9419.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 1994
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mtl:montde:9419

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Related research

Keywords: EDUCATION ; DIPLOMAS ; HIGHER EDUCATION;

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Cited by:
  1. Sprumont, Y., 1995. "On the Game-Theoretic Structure of Public-Good Economies," Cahiers de recherche 9519, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  2. Ghysels, E. & Granger, C.W.J. & Siklos, P.L., 1995. "Is Seasonal Adjustment a Linear or Nonlinear Data Filtring Process," Cahiers de recherche 9517, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  3. Marco Antonio Bonomo & Rene Garcia, 1997. "Tests of conditional asset pricing models in the Brazilian stock market," Textos para discussão 368, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
  4. Kathy Cannings & Sophie Mahseredjian & Claude Montmarquette, 1997. "How Do Young People Choose College Majors ?," CIRANO Working Papers 97s-38, CIRANO.
  5. 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.
  6. Jocelyn Martel, 1994. "More on the Impact of Bankruptcy Reform in Canada," CIRANO Working Papers 94s-17, CIRANO.

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