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Up in STEM, Down in Business: Changing College Major Decisions with the Great Recession

Author

Listed:
  • Liu, Shimeng

    (Jinan University)

  • Sun, Weizeng

    () (Jinan University)

  • Winters, John V.

    () (Iowa State University)

Abstract

We use the American Community Survey (ACS) to investigate the extent to which college major decisions were affected during and after the Great Recession with special attention to business and STEM fields, as well as the heterogeneity by gender, race/ethnicity and combinations of race/ethnicity and gender. Several conclusions are reached. First, we see an overall increase in the frequency of STEM majors but a decrease in the frequency of business majors during and after the Great Recession. Second, the increase for STEM fields is spread across several detailed STEM fields, while the decrease in business majors is especially concentrated among finance and management. Third, we find strong heterogeneous effects by gender and race/ethnicity. Males are pushed away from business majors, while both males and females are pushed toward STEM majors; certain racial groups, such as white and Asian, seem to be affected more than others.

Suggested Citation

  • Liu, Shimeng & Sun, Weizeng & Winters, John V., 2017. "Up in STEM, Down in Business: Changing College Major Decisions with the Great Recession," IZA Discussion Papers 10996, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10996
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bonchukova, D. & Starobinskaya, N., 2013. "Strategic marketing and competitiveness of high school," Annals of marketing-mba, Department of Marketing, Marketing MBA (RSconsult), vol. 2, July.
    2. Lisa Simon, 2018. "Shocking Choice: Trade Shocks, Local Labor Markets and Vocational Occupation Choices," ifo Working Paper Series 281, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    3. repec:ces:ifobei:83 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    business; college major; Great Recession; finance; STEM;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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