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Ability Sorting and the Returns to College Major

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  • Arcidiacono, Peter

Abstract

Large earnings and ability differences exist across majors. This paper seeks to estimate the monetary returns to particular majors as well as find the causes of the ability sorting across majors. In order to accomplish this, I estimate a dynamic model of college and major choice. Even after controlling for selection, large earnings premiums exist for certain majors. Differences in monetary returns explain little of the ability sorting across majors; virtually all ability sorting is because of preferences for particular majors in college and the workplace, with the former being larger than the latter.

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  • Arcidiacono, Peter, 2002. "Ability Sorting and the Returns to College Major," Working Papers 02-26, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:duk:dukeec:02-26
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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