IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Modeling college major choices using elicited measures of expectations and counterfactuals

Listed author(s):
  • Arcidiacono, Peter
  • Hotz, V. Joseph
  • Kang, Songman

The choice of a college major plays a critical role in determining the future earnings of college graduates. Students make their college major decisions in part due to the future earnings streams associated with the different majors. We survey students about what their expected earnings would be both in the major they have chosen and in counterfactual majors. We also elicit students’ subjective assessments of their abilities in chosen and counterfactual majors. We estimate a model of college major choice that incorporates these subjective expectations and assessments. We show that both expected earnings and students’ abilities in the different majors are important determinants of a student’s choice of a college major. We also consider how differences in students’ forecasts about what the average Duke student would earn in different majors versus what they expect they would earn both influence one’s choice of a college major. In particular, our estimates suggest that 7.8% of students would switch majors if they had the same expectations about the average returns to different majors and differed only in their perceived comparative advantages across these majors.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304407611001151
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Econometrics.

Volume (Year): 166 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 3-16

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:econom:v:166:y:2012:i:1:p:3-16
DOI: 10.1016/j.jeconom.2011.06.002
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jeconom

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Orazio Attanasio & Katja Kaufmann, 2009. "Educational Choices, Subjective Expectations, and Credit Constraints," NBER Working Papers 15087, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Weber, Elke U, 1999. "Commentary on "Analysis of Choice Expectations in Incomplete Scenarios."," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 71-72, December.
  3. Asher A. Blass & Saul Lach & Charles F. Manski, 2008. "Using Elicited Choice Probabilities to Estimate Random Utility Models: Preferences for Electricity Reliability," NBER Working Papers 14451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Basit Zafar, 2013. "College Major Choice and the Gender Gap," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(3), pages 545-595.
  6. Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 5-86, March.
  7. Adeline Delavande, 2008. "Pill, Patch, Or Shot? Subjective Expectations And Birth Control Choice," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(3), pages 999-1042, 08.
  8. Sarah E. Turner & William G. Bowen, 1999. "Choice of Major: The Changing (Unchanging) Gender Gap," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(2), pages 289-313, January.
  9. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Adolescent Econometricians: How Do Youth Infer the Returns to Schooling?," NBER Chapters, in: Studies of Supply and Demand in Higher Education, pages 43-60 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Katja Kaufmann, 2008. "Understanding the Income Gradient in College Attendance in Mexico: The Role of Heterogeneity in Expected Returns to College," Discussion Papers 07-040, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  11. Loury, Linda Datcher & Garman, David, 1995. "College Selectivity and Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 289-308, April.
  12. J. Dominitz & C. F. Manski, "undated". "Eliciting student expectations of the returns to schooling," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1049-94, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  13. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2002. "Ability Sorting and the Returns to College Major," Working Papers 02-26, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  14. Richard Blundell & Mónica Costa Dias, 2008. "Alternative Approaches to Evaluation in Empirical Microeconomics," CEF.UP Working Papers 0805, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  15. Manski, Charles F, 1999. "Analysis of Choice Expectations in Incomplete Scenarios," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 49-66, December.
  16. Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1999. "Commentary on "Analysis of Choice Expectations in Incomplete Scenarios."," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 67-69, December.
  17. Katja Maria Kaufmann, 2014. "Understanding the income gradient in college attendance in Mexico: The role of heterogeneity in expected returns," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 5(3), pages 583-630, November.
  18. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2006. "The Homecoming of American College Women: The Reversal of the College Gender Gap," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 133-156, Fall.
  19. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 1994. "Using Expectations Data to Study Subjective Income Expectations," Econometrics 9411003, EconWPA.
  20. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352-352.
  21. James, Estelle, et al, 1989. "College Quality and Future Earnings: Where Should You Send Your Child to College?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 247-252, May.
  22. Basit Zafar, 2009. "How do college students form expectations?," Staff Reports 378, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  23. Wilbert van der Klaauw & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2005. "Social Security and the Retirement and Savings Behavior of Low Income Households," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-020, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  24. Julian R. Betts, 1996. "What Do Students Know about Wages? Evidence from a Survey of Undergraduates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(1), pages 27-56.
  25. Montmarquette, Claude & Cannings, Kathy & Mahseredjian, Sophie, 2002. "How do young people choose college majors?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 543-556, December.
  26. 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.
  27. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, Enero.
  28. Hotz, J.V. & Miller, R.A. & Sanders, S. & Smith, J., 1992. "A Simulation Estimator for Dynamic Models of Discrete Choice," GSIA Working Papers 1992-13, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  29. Peter Arcidiacono & Esteban M. Aucejo & Hanming Fang & Kenneth I. Spenner, 2011. "Does affirmative action lead to mismatch? A new test and evidence," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 2(3), pages 303-333, November.
  30. V. Joseph Hotz & Robert A. Miller, 1993. "Conditional Choice Probabilities and the Estimation of Dynamic Models," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 497-529.
  31. Charles T. Clotfelter & Michael Rothschild, 1993. "Studies of Supply and Demand in Higher Education," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number clot93-1, Enero.
  32. 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.
  33. Jeff Grogger & Eric Eide, 1995. "Changes in College Skills and the Rise in the College Wage Premium," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(2), pages 280-310.
  34. Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Measuring Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1329-1376, 09.
  35. Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Donald, Stephen G., 2008. "The effect of college curriculum on earnings: An affinity identifier for non-ignorable non-response bias," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 144(2), pages 479-491, June.
  36. Manski, Charles F., 1993. "Dynamic choice in social settings : Learning from the experiences of others," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 121-136, July.
  37. Linda Datcher Loury, 1997. "The Gender Earnings Gap among College-Educated Workers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(4), pages 580-593, July.
  38. Peter Arcidiacono, 2005. "Affirmative Action in Higher Education: How Do Admission and Financial Aid Rules Affect Future Earnings?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(5), pages 1477-1524, 09.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:econom:v:166:y:2012:i:1:p:3-16. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.