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Why it Pays to Major in Economics

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  • Thomas Carroll
  • Djeto Assane
  • Jared Busker

Abstract

In this article, the authors use a large, recent, and accessible data set to examine the effect of economics major on individual earnings. They find a significant positive earnings gain for economics majors relative to other majors, and this advantage increases with the level of education. Their findings are consistent with Black, Sanders, and Taylor (2003), documenting that about two-thirds of the bachelor's degree premium for economics majors can be attributed to the type of job economics majors perform, and about one-third is a premium that economics majors earn over other workers within the same job.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Carroll & Djeto Assane & Jared Busker, 2014. "Why it Pays to Major in Economics," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(3), pages 251-261, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jeduce:v:45:y:2014:i:3:p:251-261
    DOI: 10.1080/00220485.2014.917906
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sam Allgood & William Bosshardt & Wilbert van der Klaauw & Michael Watts, 2012. "Is Economics Coursework, or Majoring in Economics, Associated with Different Civic Behaviors?," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(3), pages 248-268, July.
    2. Dan A. Black & Seth Sanders & Lowell Taylor, 2003. "The Economic Reward for Studying Economics," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(3), pages 365-377, July.
    3. John J. Siegfried, 2010. "Trends in Undergraduate Economics Degrees, 1991--2009," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(3), pages 326-330, June.
    4. Dee, Thomas S., 2004. "Are there civic returns to education?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1697-1720, August.
    5. Ashenfelter, Orley C & Kelley, Stanley, Jr, 1975. "Determinants of Participation in Presidential Elections," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 695-733, December.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael R. Hammock & P. Wesley Routon & Jay K. Walker, 2016. "The opinions of economics majors before and after learning economics," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(1), pages 76-83, January.
    2. John V. Winters, 2016. "Is economics a good major for future lawyers? Evidence from earnings data," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(2), pages 187-191, April.
    3. Sam Allgood & William B. Walstad & John J. Siegfried, 2015. "Research on Teaching Economics to Undergraduates," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 53(2), pages 285-325, June.

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