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State Merit Aid Programs and College Major: A Focus on STEM

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  • David L. Sjoquist
  • John V. Winters

Abstract

Since 1991 more than two dozen states have adopted merit-based student financial aid programs, intended at least in part to increase the stock of human capital by improving the knowledge and skills of the state's workforce. At the same time, there has been growing concern that the United States is producing too few college graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Using microdata from the American Community Survey, this paper examines whether recently adopted state merit aid programs have affected college major decisions, with a focus on STEM fields. We find consistent evidence that state merit programs did in fact reduce the likelihood that a young person in the state will earn a STEM degree.

Suggested Citation

  • David L. Sjoquist & John V. Winters, 2015. "State Merit Aid Programs and College Major: A Focus on STEM," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(4), pages 973-1006.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/681108
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    Cited by:

    1. Cowan, Benjamin W. & White, Dustin R., 2015. "The effects of merit-based financial aid on drinking in college," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 137-149.
    2. Hill, Andrew J., 2017. "State affirmative action bans and STEM degree completions," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 31-40.
    3. Winters, John V., 2014. "STEM graduates, human capital externalities, and wages in the U.S," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 190-198.
    4. Shimeng Liu & Weizeng Sun & John V. Winters, 2019. "Up In Stem, Down In Business: Changing College Major Decisions With The Great Recession," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(3), pages 476-491, July.
    5. Peter Arcidiacono & Esteban M. Aucejo & V. Joseph Hotz, 2016. "University Differences in the Graduation of Minorities in STEM Fields: Evidence from California," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(3), pages 525-562, March.
    6. repec:eee:labeco:v:47:y:2017:i:c:p:48-63 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Eric Bettinger & Oded Gurantz & Laura Kawano & Bruce Sacerdote, 2016. "The Long Run Impacts of Merit Aid: Evidence from California’s Cal Grant," NBER Working Papers 22347, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Chakrabarti, Rajashri & Gorton, Nicole & Roy, Joydeep, 2018. "Getting ahead by spending more? Local community response to state merit aid programs," Staff Reports 872, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    9. repec:spr:reihed:v:59:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s11162-017-9475-x is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Welch, Jilleah G., 2014. "HOPE for community college students: The impact of merit aid on persistence, graduation, and earnings," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 1-20.
    11. Kareem Haggag & Richard W. Patterson & Nolan G. Pope & Aaron Feudo, 2018. "Attribution Bias in Major Decisions: Evidence from the United States Military Academy," CESifo Working Paper Series 7081, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Haggag, Kareem & Patterson, Richard & Pope, Nolan G. & Feudo, Aaron, 2019. "Attribution Bias in Major Decisions: Evidence from the United States Military Academy," IZA Discussion Papers 12174, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Winters, John V., 2014. "Foreign and Native-Born STEM Graduates and Innovation Intensity in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 8575, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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