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Double your major, double your return?

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  • Del Rossi, Alison F.
  • Hersch, Joni

Abstract

We use the 2003 National Survey of College Graduates to provide the first estimates of the effect on earnings of having a double major. Overall, double majoring increases earnings by 2.3% relative to having a single major among college graduates without graduate degrees. Most of the gains from having a double major come from choosing fields across two different major categories. Graduates who combine an arts, humanities or social science major with a major in business, engineering, science or math have returns 7-50% higher than graduates with a single major in arts, humanities or social science. But such double major combinations have returns no higher than single majors in business, engineering, science or math. Majors combining business and science or math have returns more than 50% greater than the returns to having a single major in these fields.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:27:y:2008:i:4:p:375-386
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Brown, Charles & Corcoran, Mary, 1997. "Sex-Based Differences in School Content and the Male-Female Wage Gap," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages 431-465, July.
    2. 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.
    3. Loury, Linda Datcher & Garman, David, 1993. "Affirmative Action in Higher Education," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 99-103, May.
    4. 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.
    5. R. Kim Craft & Joe G. Baker, 2003. "Do Economists Make Better Lawyers? Undergraduate Degree Field and Lawyer Earnings," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(3), pages 263-281, January.
    6. Graham, John W. & Smith, Steven A., 2005. "Gender differences in employment and earnings in science and engineering in the US," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 341-354, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eric Bettinger, 2010. "To Be or Not to Be: Major Choices in Budding Scientists," NBER Chapters,in: American Universities in a Global Market, pages 69-98 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Basit Zafar, 2012. "Double Majors: One For Me, One For The Parents?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(2), pages 287-308, April.
    3. Elzbieta Turska, 2016. "Is Double-Degree Goal Equally Good for All Students? Moderating Impact of Interval Activity Style (Czy studia na drugim kierunku sluza wszystkim studentom? Modyfikuj┬╣cy efekt przedzialowego stylu akty," Problemy Zarzadzania, University of Warsaw, Faculty of Management, vol. 14(60), pages 134-146.

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