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Risk Aversion and College Subject

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  • Paolo Buonanno

    ()

  • Dario Pozzoli

    ()

Abstract

We investigate whether individual attitudes toward risk may explain why, though there exist huge di erences in the employment returns of graduates by fields of study, the most demanded subjects by the economy are less frequently chosen. The econometric methodology is based on a three step procedure which controls for selectivity bias in the rst stage (Heckman, 1979; Lee, 1983; Trost and Lee, 1984). Using a large data set from a survey on the 2001 Italian high school graduates, the main results indicate that students take into account the a priori probability of unsuccess when choosing the college subject. Moreover, students coming from a lower socio-economic background display more risk aversion.

Suggested Citation

  • Paolo Buonanno & Dario Pozzoli, 2007. "Risk Aversion and College Subject," Working Papers (-2012) 0707, University of Bergamo, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:brg:wpaper:0707
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Belzil, Christian & Leonardi, Marco, 2007. "Can risk aversion explain schooling attainments? Evidence from Italy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 957-970, December.
    2. Figlio, David N. & Page, Marianne E., 2002. "School Choice and the Distributional Effects of Ability Tracking: Does Separation Increase Inequality?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 497-514, May.
    3. Christian Belzil & Marco Leonardi, 2013. "Risk Aversion and Schooling Decisions," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 111-112, pages 35-70.
    4. Daniele Checchi & Giuseppe Bertola, 2001. "Sorting and private education in Italy," Departmental Working Papers 2001-21, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    5. Trost, Robert P & Lee, Lung-Fei, 1984. "Technical Training and Earnings: A Polychotomous Choice Model with Selectivity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(1), pages 151-156, February.
    6. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    7. Christian Dustmann, 2004. "Parental background, secondary school track choice, and wages," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 209-230, April.
    8. Rochat, Denis & Demeulemeester, Jean-Luc, 2001. "Rational choice under unequal constraints: the example of Belgian higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 15-26, February.
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    13. Altonji, Joseph G, 1993. "The Demand for and Return to Education When Education Outcomes Are Uncertain," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 48-83, January.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Risk aversion; College subject; Self-selection;

    JEL classification:

    • C34 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Truncated and Censored Models; Switching Regression Models
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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