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College Major, Internship Experience, and Employment Opportunities: Estimates from a Résumé Audit

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  • John M. Nunley
  • Adam Pugh
  • Nicholas Romero
  • Richard Alan Seals, Jr.

Abstract

We use experimental data from a résumé audit to estimate the impact of particular college majors and internship experience on employment prospects. Despite applying exclusively to business-related job openings, we find no evidence that business degrees improve employment prospects. By contrast, internship experience increases the interview rate by 14 percent. The returns to internship experience are larger for (a) nonbusiness majors and (b) applicants with high academic ability. Our data support signaling as the most likely explanation for the effect of internships on employment opportunities.

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  • John M. Nunley & Adam Pugh & Nicholas Romero & Richard Alan Seals, Jr., 2015. "College Major, Internship Experience, and Employment Opportunities: Estimates from a Résumé Audit," Auburn Economics Working Paper Series auwp2015-09, Department of Economics, Auburn University.
  • Handle: RePEc:abn:wpaper:auwp2015-09
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    Cited by:

    1. John M. Nunley & Adam Pugh & Nicholas Romero & Richard Alan Seals, Jr., 2015. "Unemployment, Underemployment, and Employment Opportunities: Results from a Correspondence Audit," Auburn Economics Working Paper Series auwp2015-13, Department of Economics, Auburn University.
    2. Oswald-Egg, Maria Esther & Renold, Ursula, 2021. "No experience, no employment: The effect of vocational education and training work experience on labour market outcomes after higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 80(C).
    3. Baert, By Stijn & Neyt, Brecht & Siedler, Thomas & Tobback, Ilse & Verhaest, Dieter, 2021. "Student internships and employment opportunities after graduation: A field experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 83(C).
    4. Holford, Angus, 2017. "Access to and returns from unpaid graduate internships," ISER Working Paper Series 2017-07, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    5. Brecht Neyt & Dieter Verhaest & Stijn Baert, 2019. "The Impact of Internship Experience During Secondary Education on Schooling and Labour Market Outcomes," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 19/980, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    6. Nunley John M. & Pugh Adam & Romero Nicholas & Seals R. Alan, 2015. "Racial Discrimination in the Labor Market for Recent College Graduates: Evidence from a Field Experiment," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 15(3), pages 1093-1125, July.
    7. Maria Esther Oswald-Egg & Ursula Renold, 2019. "No Experience, No Employment: The Effect of Vocational Education and Training Work Experience on Labour Market Outcomes after Higher Education," KOF Working papers 19-469, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    8. Nunley, John M. & Pugh, Adam & Romero, Nicholas & Seals, R. Alan, 2016. "College major, internship experience, and employment opportunities: Estimates from a résumé audit," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 37-46.
    9. Piopiunik, Marc & Schwerdt, Guido & Simon, Lisa & Woessmann, Ludger, 2020. "Skills, signals, and employability: An experimental investigation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 123(C).
    10. Gaulke, Amanda & Cassidy, Hugh & Namingit, Sheryll, 2019. "The effect of post-baccalaureate business certificates on job search: Results from a correspondence study," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C).
    11. Ricardo Nogales & Pamela Córdova & Manuel Urquidi, 2020. "The impact of university reputation on employment opportunities: Experimental evidence from Bolivia," The Economic and Labour Relations Review, , vol. 31(4), pages 524-542, December.
    12. Saniter, Nils & Siedler, Thomas, 2014. "Door Opener or Waste of Time? The Effects of Student Internships on Labor Market Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 8141, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Margaryan, Shushanik & Saniter, Nils & Schumann, Mathias & Siedler, Thomas, 2019. "Do Internships Pay Off? The Effects of Student Internships on Earnings," IZA Discussion Papers 12478, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Jaeger, David A. & Nunley, John M. & Seals Jr., R. Alan & Wilbrandt, Eric J., 2020. "The Demand for Interns," IZA Discussion Papers 12960, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Di Meglio, Gisela & Barge-Gil, Andrés & Camiña, Ester & Moreno, Lourdes, 2019. "Knocking on Employment´s Door: Internships and Job Attainment," MPRA Paper 95712, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Gaddis, S. Michael, 2018. "An Introduction to Audit Studies in the Social Sciences," SocArXiv e5hfc, Center for Open Science.
    17. Ahmet Karakiraz & Asuman Üstündağ & Ayşegül Karataş & Yasemin Özdemir, 2021. "From Realizable Dreams to Sustainable Facts: An Empirical Study on the Role of Internships in Students’ Career Plans in a Turkish Business School," SAGE Open, , vol. 11(1), pages 21582440219, February.
    18. Sandra M. Leitner & Oliver Reiter, 2020. "Employers’ Skills Requirements in the Austrian Labour Market: On the Relative Importance of ICT, Cognitive and Non-cognitive Skills over the Past 15 Years," wiiw Working Papers 190, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    19. Eugene Soltes, 2020. "Paper Versus Practice: A Field Investigation of Integrity Hotlines," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 429-472, May.
    20. Zhang Qiwang & Wang Xiaorui, 2020. "Factors Influencing Employment Rate and Mobility of Science and Engineering and Economics and Management Graduates in Northeast China: An Examination," SAGE Open, , vol. 10(2), pages 21582440209, June.
    21. Dieter Verhaest & Stijn Baert, 2018. "The effects of workplace learning in higher education on employment and match quality: is there an early-career trade-off?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 55(3), pages 1229-1270, November.
    22. Thomas Bolli & Katherine Caves & Maria Esther Oswald-Egg, 2019. "Valuable experience: How internships affect university graduates’ income," KOF Working papers 19-459, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    23. Ulf Nielsson & Herdis Steingrimsdottir, 2018. "The signalling value of education across genders," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 54(4), pages 1827-1854, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    College Major; Internship; Employment; Field Experiments; Correspondence Studies; Résumé Audit;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General

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