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The Performance of Economics Graduates over the Entire Curriculum: The Determinants of Success


  • Kurtis J. Swope
  • Pamela M. Schmitt


Most studies of the determinants of understanding in economics focus on performance in a single course or standardized exam. Taking advantage of a large data set available at the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA), the authors examined the performance of economics majors over an entire curriculum. They found that gender was not a significant predictor of grade point average in economics courses, but grades of male minority students were lower than their counterparts'. The USNA dataset also provides information on Scholastic Aptitude Test scores and personality variables, allowing exploration of their influence on performance. Students characterized as "judging types" (described as decisive, organized, and self-regimented) generally performed better than did students characterized as "perceiving types" (described as curious, adaptable, and spontaneous).

Suggested Citation

  • Kurtis J. Swope & Pamela M. Schmitt, 2006. "The Performance of Economics Graduates over the Entire Curriculum: The Determinants of Success," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(4), pages 387-394, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jeduce:v:37:y:2006:i:4:p:387-394
    DOI: 10.3200/JECE.37.4.387-394

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    Cited by:

    1. Carlos J. Asarta & Roger B. Butters & Andrew Perumal, 2013. "Success in Economics Major: Is it Path Dependent?," Working Papers 13-11, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
    2. Ann L. Owen, 2011. "Student Characteristics, Behavior, and Performance in Economics Classes," Chapters, in: Gail M. Hoyt & KimMarie McGoldrick (ed.), International Handbook on Teaching and Learning Economics, chapter 32, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Butters, Roger & Asarta, Carlos & Thompson, Eric C., 2013. "The Production of Economic Knowledge in Urban and Rural Areas: The Role of Student, Teacher, and School Characteristics," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 45(1), pages 1-15, February.
    4. Leonard C. Smith, 2009. "An Analysis Of The Impact Of Pedagogic Interventions In First‐Year Academic Development And Mainstream Courses In Microeconomics," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 77(1), pages 162-178, March.
    5. Roger B. Butters & Carlos J. Asarta & Tammie J. Fischer, 2011. "Human Capital in The Classroom: The Role of Teacher Knowledge in Economic Literacy," The American Economist, Sage Publications, vol. 56(2), pages 47-57, November.
    6. Ivo J. M. Arnold & Jerry T. Straten, 2012. "Motivation and Math Skills as Determinants of First-Year Performance in Economics," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(1), pages 33-47, January.
    7. John Marangos, 2012. "The ‘discouraged-business-major’ hypothesis: policy implications," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(4), pages 430-446, September.
    8. Lee E. Erickson & Patricia A. Erickson, 2013. "Predicting Student Performance Using Online One-Minute Papers," Journal for Economic Educators, Middle Tennessee State University, Business and Economic Research Center, vol. 13(1), pages 6-13, Fall.
    9. Ivo J. M. Arnold & Wietske Rowaan, 2014. "First-Year Study Success in Economics and Econometrics: The Role of Gender, Motivation, and Math Skills," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(1), pages 25-35, March.
    10. Carlos J. Asarta & Roger B. Butters & Eric Thompson, 2013. "The Gender Question in Economic Education: Is it the Teacher or the Test?," Working Papers 13-12, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.

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