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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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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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  8. Arcidiacono, Peter & Hotz, V. Joseph & Kang, Songman, 2012. "Modeling college major choices using elicited measures of expectations and counterfactuals," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 166(1), pages 3-16.
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  13. 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.
  14. Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd R. Stinebrickner, 2013. "A Major in Science? Initial Beliefs and Final Outcomes for College Major and Dropout," NBER Working Papers 19165, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. Peter Arcidiacono & Esteban M. Aucejo & Hanming Fang & Kenneth I. Spenner, 2011. "Does affirmative action lead to mismatch? A new test and evidence," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 2(3), pages 303-333, November.
  17. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2002. "Ability Sorting and the Returns to College Major," Working Papers 02-26, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
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  21. 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.
  22. Wiswall, Matthew & Zafar, Basit, 2011. "Determinants of college major choice: identification using an information experiment," Staff Reports 500, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, revised 01 Aug 2014.
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