The Effects of Race, Sex, and Expected Returns on the Choice of College Major
This paper examines whether race and sex play significant roles in the choice of college major for entering freshmen. Of particular interest is whether women and minority students are more or less likely, holding other things constant, to choose to major in science, engineering, or math (SEM). Using data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study: 1988-94 (NELS:88), results indicate that, even controlling for individual, family, and school characteristics, females are less likely, and Asians and Blacks are more likely, to choose SEM majors. However, including expected returns in the estimation eliminates the significance of being female and Asian (but not Black) on SEM major choice.
Volume (Year): 30 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
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- 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.
- 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.
- Jack Fiorito & Robert C. Duffenbach, 1982. "Market and nonmarket influences on curriculum choice by college students," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 36(1), pages 88-101, October.
- Ganderton, Philip T. & Santos, Richard, 1995. "Hispanic college attendance and completion: Evidence from the high school and beyond surveys," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 35-46, March.
- Blakemore, Arthur E & Low, Stuart A, 1984. "Sex Differences in Occupational Selection: The Case of College Majors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(1), pages 157-63, February.
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