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International Trends in Economics Degrees During the 1990s

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  • John J. Siegfried
  • David K. Round

Abstract

Australia, Canada, Germany, and the United States experienced a substantial decline in undergraduate degrees in economics from 1992 through 1996, followed immediately by a modest recovery. This cycle does not conform to overall degree trends, shifts in the gender composition of undergraduate populations, or changing interests of female students in any of the four countries. There is no evidence that changes in the “price” of a degree to students, tightened marking standards or degree requirements, or changes in pedagogical methods caused the cycle. Jobs for economics graduates declined in the United States between 1988 and 1990 and thereafter recovered. With a two-year recognition lag, the pattern of employment prospects fits the U.S. slump in economics degrees perfectly. Unfortunately, employment patterns in the other three countries are inconsistent with the degree cycle. The explanation that fits the economic degree pattern best is interest in business education.

Suggested Citation

  • John J. Siegfried & David K. Round, 2001. "International Trends in Economics Degrees During the 1990s," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(3), pages 203-218, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jeduce:v:32:y:2001:i:3:p:203-218
    DOI: 10.1080/00220480109596103
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. William E. Becker & Michael Watts, 2001. "Teaching Methods in U.S. Undergraduate Economics Courses," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(3), pages 269-279, January.
    2. Robert A. Margo & John J. Siegfried, 1996. "Long-Run Trends in Economics Bachelor's Degrees," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(4), pages 326-336, October.
    3. Philip Lewis & Keith Norris, 1997. "Recent Changes In Economics Enrolments," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 16(1), pages 1-13, March.
    4. Rachel A. Willis & Paul J. Pieper, 1996. "The Economics Major: A Cross-Sectional View," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(4), pages 337-349, October.
    5. Bartlett, Robin L, 1995. "Attracting "Otherwise Bright Students" to Economics 101," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 362-366, May.
    6. Siegfried, John J & Raymond, Jennie E, 1984. "A Profile of Senior Economics Majors in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 19-25, May.
    7. David Brasfield & Dannie Harrison & James McCoy & Martin Milkman, 1996. "Why Have Some Schools Not Experienced a Decrease in the Percentage of Students Majoring in Economics?," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(4), pages 362-370, October.
    8. Michael K. Salemi & Carlie Eubanks, 1996. "Accounting for the Rise and Fall in the Number of Economics Majors with the Discouraged-Business-Major Hypothesis," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(4), pages 350-361, October.
    9. Cecilia A. Conrad, 1996. "Where Have All the Majors Gone? Comment," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(4), pages 376-378, October.
    10. Richard Sabot & John Wakeman-Linn, 1991. "Grade Inflation and Course Choice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 159-170, Winter.
    11. John J. Siegfried, 1997. "Trends in Undergraduate Economics Degrees: An Update," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(3), pages 279-282, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alan Duhs & Ross Guest, 2011. "Economics Education in Australia," Chapters,in: International Handbook on Teaching and Learning Economics, chapter 72 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Alauddin, Mohammad & Valadkhani, Abbas, 2003. "Causes and Implications of Declining Economics Major: A Focus on Australia," MPRA Paper 50393, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. John J. Siegfried, 2011. "The Economics Major in the United States," Chapters,in: International Handbook on Teaching and Learning Economics, chapter 68 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A22 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Undergraduate

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