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Efficient Supply of Human Capital: Role of College Major

Author

Listed:
  • Cho, Sungjin

    (Seoul National University)

  • Kam, Jihye

    (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

  • Lee, Soohyung

    () (Sogang University)

Abstract

This study examines the extent to which changing the composition of college majors among working-age population may affect the supply of human capital or effective labor supply. We use the South Korean setting, in which the population is rapidly aging, but where, despite their high educational attainment, women and young adults are still weakly attached to the labor market. We find that Engineering majors have an advantage in various outcomes such as likelihood of being in the labor force, being employed, obtaining long-term position, and earnings, while Humanities and Arts/Athletics majors show the worst outcomes. We then conduct a back-of-the-envelope calculation of the impact of the recently proposed policy change to increase the share of Engineering majors by 10 percent starting in 2017. Our calculation suggests that the policy change may have a positive but small impact on labor market outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Cho, Sungjin & Kam, Jihye & Lee, Soohyung, 2017. "Efficient Supply of Human Capital: Role of College Major," IZA Discussion Papers 10610, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10610
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters,in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2009. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1403-1448.
    3. Neumark, David & Johnson, Hans & Mejia, Marisol Cuellar, 2013. "Future skill shortages in the U.S. economy?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 151-167.
    4. Sanghoon Lee, 2007. "The Timing Of Signaling: To Study In High School Or In College?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 48(3), pages 785-807, August.
    5. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1.
    6. David S. Lee, 2009. "Training, Wages, and Sample Selection: Estimating Sharp Bounds on Treatment Effects," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 1071-1102.
    7. Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Donald, Stephen G., 2008. "The effect of college curriculum on earnings: An affinity identifier for non-ignorable non-response bias," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 144(2), pages 479-491, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    returns to schooling; college major; economics of education; gender gap; human capital; aging;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets

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