IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Choosing the Field of Study in Post-Secondary Education : Do Expected Earnings Matter ?

  • Magali BEFFY

    (Crest)

  • Denis FOUGERE

    (Crest)

  • Arnaud MAUREL

    (Crest)

This paper examines the determinants of the choice of the major when the length ofstudies is uncertain, by using a framework in which students entering post-secondary educationare assumed to anticipate their future earnings. For that purpose, we use Frenchdata coming from the 1992 and 1998 Génération surveys collected by the Centre d’Etudeset de Recherches sur l’Emploi et les Qualifications (CEREQ, Marseille). Our econometricapproach is based on a semi-structural three-equations model, which is identified thanksto some exclusion restrictions. We exploit in particular exogenous variations in the earningsreturns associated with the majors across the business cycle, in order to identify thecausal effect of expected earnings on the probability of choosing a given major. Relying ona three-component mixture distribution, we account for correlation between the unobservedindividual-specific terms affecting the preferences for the majors, the unobserved individualspecificfactors entering the equation determining the length of studies within each major,and that affecting the labor market earnings equation. Following Arcidiacono and Jones(2003), we use the EM algorithm with a sequential maximization step to produce consistentparameter estimates. Simulating for each given major a 10 percent increase in the expectedearnings suggests that expected earnings have a statistically significant but quantitativelysmall impact on the allocation of students across majors.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.crest.fr/images/doctravail/2009-14.pdf
File Function: Crest working paper version
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique in its series Working Papers with number 2009-14.

as
in new window

Length: 38
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:crs:wpaper:2009-14
Contact details of provider: Postal: 15 Boulevard Gabriel Peri 92245 Malakoff Cedex
Phone: 01 41 17 60 81
Web page: http://www.crest.fr

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Michael P. Keane & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1995. "The career decisions of young men," Working Papers 559, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Belzil, Christian & Hansen, Jörgen, 2002. "Earnings Dispersion, Risk Aversion and Education," CEPR Discussion Papers 3600, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Carneiro, Pedro & Hansen, Karsten & Heckman, James, 2003. "Estimating distributions of treatment effects with an application to the returns to schooling and measurement of the effects of uncertainty on college choice," Working Paper Series 2003:9, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  4. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 2001. "The Effect of Parental Transfers and Borrowing Constraints on Educational Attainment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1051-1103, November.
  5. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 1998. "Life Cycle Schooling and Dynamic Selection Bias: Models and Evidence for Five Cohorts of American Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 262-333, April.
  6. 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.
  7. Mark C. Berger, 1988. "Predicted future earnings and choice of college major," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 41(3), pages 418-429, April.
  8. Dominic J. Brewer & Eric R. Eide & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1999. "Does It Pay to Attend an Elite Private College? Cross-Cohort Evidence on the Effects of College Type on Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(1), pages 104-123.
  9. Christian Belzil & Jörgen Hansen, 2002. "Unobserved Ability and the Return to Schooling," CIRANO Working Papers 2002s-19, CIRANO.
  10. 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.
  11. Zvi Eckstein & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1999. "Why Youths Drop Out of High School: The Impact of Preferences, Opportunities, and Abilities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(6), pages 1295-1340, November.
  12. Boudarbat, Brahim & Montmarquette, Claude, 2007. "Choice of Fields of Study of Canadian University Graduates: The Role of Gender and their Parents’ Education," IZA Discussion Papers 2552, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Moshe Buchinsky & Phillip Leslie, 2010. "Educational Attainment and the Changing U.S. Wage Structure: Dynamic Implications on Young Individuals' Choices," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(3), pages 541-594, 07.
  14. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
  15. Thomas Brodaty & Robert Gary-Bobo & Ana Prieto, 2006. "Risk Aversion and Human Capital Investment: a Structural Econometric Model," THEMA Working Papers 2006-06, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  16. repec:att:wimass:9110 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Dominic J. Brewer & Eric Eide & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1996. "Does It Pay To Attend An Elite Private College? Cross Cohort Evidence on the Effects of College Quality on Earnings," NBER Working Papers 5613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. James, Estelle, et al, 1989. "College Quality and Future Earnings: Where Should You Send Your Child to College?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 247-52, May.
  19. Philip Oreopoulos & Till von Wachter & Andrew Heisz, 2006. "The Short- and Long-Term Career Effects of Graduating in a Recession: Hysteresis and Heterogeneity in the Market for College Graduates," NBER Working Papers 12159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Hajivassiliou, Vassilis & McFadden, Daniel & Ruud, Paul, 1996. "Simulation of multivariate normal rectangle probabilities and their derivatives theoretical and computational results," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1-2), pages 85-134.
  21. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Adolescent Econometricians: How Do Youth Infer the Returns to Schooling?," NBER Chapters, in: Studies of Supply and Demand in Higher Education, pages 43-60 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Charles T. Clotfelter & Michael Rothschild, 1993. "Studies of Supply and Demand in Higher Education," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number clot93-1, May.
  23. Peter Arcidiacono & John Bailey Jones, 2003. "Finite Mixture Distributions, Sequential Likelihood and the EM Algorithm," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(3), pages 933-946, 05.
  24. Stephen V. Cameron & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Dynamics of Educational Attainment for Black, Hispanic, and White Males," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 455-499, June.
  25. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2002. "Ability Sorting and the Returns to College Major," Working Papers 02-26, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  26. 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.
  27. Saks Raven E & Shore Stephen H, 2005. "Risk and Career Choice," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-45, October.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Economic Logic blog

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:crs:wpaper:2009-14. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Florian Sallaberry)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.