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College Major Choice And Changes In The Gender Wage Gap

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  • ERIC EIDE

Abstract

The distribution of college majors changed markedly between the 1970s and 1980s as fewer students completed degrees in low-skill fields such as education and letters and more graduated in high-skill fields such as engineering and business. This shift was most dramatic for females, who previously were concentrated in low-skill fields relative to those of males. This paper examines how this education-related skill upgrade, as represented by changes in the major distribution, affected the gender wage gap for college graduates during the 1980s. The results show that convergence in major distribution between males and females contributed to a decline in the gender wage gap for college graduates. Copyright 1994 Western Economic Association International.

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  • Eric Eide, 1994. "College Major Choice And Changes In The Gender Wage Gap," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 12(2), pages 55-64, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:coecpo:v:12:y:1994:i:2:p:55-64
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963–1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78.
    2. F. L. Jones, 1983. "On Decomposing the Wage Gap: A Critical Comment on Blinder's Method," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(1), pages 126-130.
    3. Paglin, Morton & Rufolo, Anthony M, 1990. "Heterogeneous Human Capital, Occupational Choice, and Male-Female Earnings Differences," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages 123-144, January.
    4. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    5. Fishe, Raymond P. H. & Trost, R. P. & Lurie, Philip M., 1981. "Labor force earnings and college choice of young women: An examination of selectivity bias and comparative advantage," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 169-191, April.
    6. Thomas N. Daymonti & Paul J. Andrisani, 1984. "Job Preferences, College Major, and the Gender Gap in Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(3), pages 408-428.
    7. Rumberger, Russell W. & Thomas, Scott L., 1993. "The economic returns to college major, quality and performance: A multilevel analysis of recent graduates," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 1-19, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Scott E. Carrell & Marianne E. Page & James E. West, 2010. "Sex and Science: How Professor Gender Perpetuates the Gender Gap," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1101-1144.
    2. Castagnetti, Carolina & Rosti, Luisa, 2010. "Gender stereotyping and wage discrimination among Italian graduates," MPRA Paper 26685, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Del Rossi, Alison F. & Hersch, Joni, 2008. "Double your major, double your return?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 375-386, August.
    4. Michael R. Strain & Douglas A. Webber, 2017. "High school experiences, the gender wage gap, and the selection of occupation," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(49), pages 5040-5049, October.
    5. Judith A. McDonald & Robert J. Thornton, 2007. "Do New Male and Female College Graduates Receive Unequal Pay?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(1).
    6. Sergey Roshchin & Victor Rudakov, 2015. "Do Starting Salaries for Graduates Measure the Quality of Education? A Review of Studies by Russian and Foreign Authors," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 1, pages 137-181.
    7. Christiansen, Charlotte & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2002. "The Educational Asset Market: A Finance Perspective on Human Capital Investment," Working Papers 02-10, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
    8. Noe', Chiara, 2009. "Subject of degree and the gender wage gap: Evidence from Italy," MPRA Paper 47289, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Ehrenberg, R.G.Ronald G., 2004. "Econometric studies of higher education," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 19-37.
    10. Livanos, Ilias & Pouliakas, Konstantinos, 2009. "The Gender Wage Gap as a Function of Educational Degree Choices in an Occupationally Segregated EU Country," IZA Discussion Papers 4636, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Daša Farcnik & Polona Domadenik, 2012. "Has the Bologna reform enhanced the employability of graduates? Early evidence from Slovenia," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 33(1), pages 51-75, March.
    12. Pouliakas, Konstantinos & Livanos, Ilias, 2008. "The Gender Wage Gap as a Function of Educational Degree Choices in Greece," MPRA Paper 14168, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 19 Mar 2009.
    13. Caviris, Nicole Stefanie, 2014. "Educational attainment, college major choice, the gender wage gap, and average starting salaries of college graduates in the United States, 1967-2011," ISU General Staff Papers 201401010800004865, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    14. Machin, Stephen & Puhani, Patrick A., 2003. "Subject of degree and the gender wage differential: evidence from the UK and Germany," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 393-400, June.
    15. Lin, Eric S., 2010. "Gender wage gaps by college major in Taiwan: Empirical evidence from the 1997-2003 Manpower Utilization Survey," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 156-164, February.

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