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Choosing a career in Science and Technology

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  • Tacsir, Ezequiel

    ()
    (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University)

Abstract

Student choice is at the center of many discussions about higher education policy. At the same time, and regardless of the emphasis put on achieving an important endowment of graduates trained in science and engineering, participation in these fields is stagnated or declining. Evidence suggests that the provision of additional scholarships for science and engineering students or abolishing the tuition fees will have practically no impact. The major problem seems to be that science and engineering programs suffer from a poor image, including as being difficult, leading to lower earning potentials than other specializations. The present study contributes to our understanding of the student choice process by highlighting by means of binomial probit with selection model (Van den Ven and Van Praag, 1981) the factors and dimensions that influence the choicew of field of study. Specifically, we will show the role that non-pecuniary rewards play in the selection process. Using results from a self-designed survey to young individuals finishing high school in Argentina, we show that when factors as the social respect and expected labour demand are considered, the income expectations become irrelevant for the decision about what type of career to follow at the university. Specifically, those inclined towards science, technology and engineering fields are motivated by the belief of obtaining important rewards in the form of social rewards (i.e., reputation) and the expectation of graduating from a highly demanded university career.

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File URL: http://www.merit.unu.edu/publications/wppdf/2010/wp2010-014.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT) in its series MERIT Working Papers with number 014.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2010014

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Related research

Keywords: Occupational Choice; Professions; Public Policy;

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References

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  1. Montmarquette, C. & Cannings, C. & Mahseredjian,S., 1997. "How do Young People Choose College Majors?," Cahiers de recherche 9719, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  2. Magali Beffy & Denis Fougère & Arnaud Maurel, 2012. "Choosing the Field of Study in Postsecondary Education: Do Expected Earnings Matter?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 334-347, February.
  3. Miller, Robert A, 1984. "Job Matching and Occupational Choice," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(6), pages 1086-120, December.
  4. Boudarbat, Brahim, 2004. "Earnings and Community College Field of Study Choice in Canada," IZA Discussion Papers 1156, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. 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.
  6. Paul M. Romer, 2000. "Should the Government Subsidize Supply or Demand in the Market for Scientists and Engineers?," NBER Working Papers 7723, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Hessel Oosterbeek & Dinand Webbink, 1997. "Is there a Hidden Technical Potential?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 97-012/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. Topel, Robert H & Ward, Michael P, 1992. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 439-79, May.
  9. Bratti, Massimiliano, 2006. "Social Class and Undergraduate Degree Subject in the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 1979, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Sicherman, Nachum & Galor, Oded, 1990. "A Theory of Career Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(1), pages 169-92, February.
  11. repec:dgr:uvatin:2097012 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2002. "Ability Sorting and the Returns to College Major," Working Papers 02-26, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  13. Hessel Oosterbeek & Dinand Webbink, 1997. "Is there a Hidden Technical Potential?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 97-012/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  14. Derek Neal, 1998. "The Complexity of Job Mobility Among Young Men," NBER Working Papers 6662, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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