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University Differences in the Graduation of Minorities in STEM Fields: Evidence from California

  • Peter Arcidiacono
  • Esteban Aucejo
  • V. Joseph Hotz

The low number of college graduates with science degrees - particularly among underrepresented minorities - is of growing concern. We examine differences across universities in graduating students in different fields. Using student-level data on the University of California system during a period in which racial preferences were in place, we show significant sorting into majors based on academic preparation, with science majors at each campus having on average stronger credentials than their non-science counterparts. Students with relatively weaker academic preparation are significantly more likely to leave the sciences and take longer to graduate at each campus. We show the vast majority of minority students would be more likely to graduate with a science degree and graduate in less time had they attended a lower ranked university. Similar results do not apply for non-minority students.

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File URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/dp1223.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1223.

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Date of creation: Jun 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1223
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. Arcidiacono, Peter & Hotz, V. Joseph & Kang, Songman, 2010. "Modeling College Major Choices Using Elicited Measures of Expectations and Counterfactuals," IZA Discussion Papers 4738, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Peter Arcidiacono & Esteban M. Aucejo & Hanming Fang & Kenneth I. Spenner, 2010. "Does Affirmative Action Lead to Mismatch? A New Test and Evidence," Working Papers 10-26, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  3. Hinrichs, Peter, 2014. "Affirmative action bans and college graduation rates," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 43-52.
  4. Ronni Pavan & Josh Kinsler, 2012. "The Specificity of General Human Capital: Evidence from College Major Choice," 2012 Meeting Papers 1036, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Todd R. Stinebrickner & Ralph Stinebrickner, 2011. "Math or Science? Using Longitudinal Expectations Data to Examine the Process of Choosing a College Major," NBER Working Papers 16869, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Arcidiacono, Peter & Khan, Shakeeb & Vigdor, Jacob L., 2011. "Representation versus assimilation: How do preferences in college admissions affect social interactions?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 1-15.
  7. Caroline M. Hoxby & Christopher Avery, 2012. "The Missing "One-Offs": The Hidden Supply of High-Achieving, Low Income Students," NBER Working Papers 18586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Stacy Berg Dale & Alan Krueger, 1998. "Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College: An Application of Selection on Observables and Unobservables," Working Papers 788, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  9. Matthew Wiswall & Basit Zafar, 2011. "Determinants of college major choice: identification using an information experiment," Staff Reports 500, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  10. Peter Hinrichs, 2012. "The Effects of Affirmative Action Bans on College Enrollment, Educational Attainment, and the Demographic Composition of Universities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(3), pages 712-722, August.
  11. Loury, Linda Datcher & Garman, David, 1995. "College Selectivity and Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 289-308, April.
  12. Ben Backes, 2012. "Do Affirmative Action Bans Lower Minority College Enrollment and Attainment?: Evidence from Statewide Bans," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(2), pages 435-455.
  13. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2004. "Ability sorting and the returns to college major," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 343-375.
  14. Eric P. Bettinger & Bridget Terry Long & Philip Oreopoulos & Lisa Sanbonmatsu, 2009. "The Role of Simplification and Information in College Decisions: Results from the H&R Block FAFSA Experiment," NBER Working Papers 15361, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Peter Arcidiacono, 2005. "Affirmative Action in Higher Education: How Do Admission and Financial Aid Rules Affect Future Earnings?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(5), pages 1477-1524, 09.
  16. Sjoquist, David L. & Winters, John V., 2013. "State Merit-Aid Programs and College Major: A Focus on STEM," IZA Discussion Papers 7381, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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