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Earnings and Community College Field of Study Choice in Canada


  • Boudarbat, Brahim

    () (University of Montreal)


In this paper, we estimate a structural model of choice of field of study by community college students. We use data from the Canadian Survey of Graduates for 12,871 individuals who successfully completed their programs in Canadian community colleges (CEGEPs in Quebec) in 1990 and 1995. Over this period, the returns to fields such as health declined relative to other fields such as science and engineering, a fact that provides useful leverage for identifying the impact of earnings on the choice of field of study. Results indicate that the probability of selecting a specific college field of study depends significantly on expected earnings in this field relative to other fields. We also find that women put less weight on earnings than men when choosing a field of study and those students who were employed prior to starting college are more sensitive to earnings variations across fields of study than students with no prior work experience.

Suggested Citation

  • Boudarbat, Brahim, 2004. "Earnings and Community College Field of Study Choice in Canada," IZA Discussion Papers 1156, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1156

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Emanuelle Bourbeau & Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2011. "Provincial Returns to Education for 21 to 35 year-olds: Results from the 1991-2006 Canadian Analytic Censuses Files," Cahiers de recherche 1106, CIRPEE.
    2. Tacsir, Ezequiel, 2010. "Choosing a career in Science and Technology," MERIT Working Papers 014, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    3. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2010. "Labour Outcomes of Graduates and Dropouts of High School and Post-secondary Education: Evidence for Canadian 24- to 26-year-olds in 2005," Cahiers de recherche 1045, CIRPEE.

    More about this item


    field of study choice; community college; Canada; selection bias;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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