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Determinants of Student Choice of Undergraduate Major Field


  • Cebula, Richard
  • Lopes, Jerry


This paper investigates the determinants of student choice of under­graduate major field. It argues that this choice depends on a variety of pecuniary and non-pecuniary factors. After allowing for the recent trends toward Accounting and Business Administration, the empirical results indicate that earnings differentials among fields and differences in the rate of change in earnings among fields are the most important factors in the student's decision.

Suggested Citation

  • Cebula, Richard & Lopes, Jerry, 1981. "Determinants of Student Choice of Undergraduate Major Field," MPRA Paper 49826, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 05 Feb 1982.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:49826

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. W. Lee Hansen, 1963. "Total and Private Rates of Return to Investment in Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 71, pages 128-128.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rita van Deuren & Sicco C. Santema, 2012. "How to choose your minor? Decision making variables used in the selection of a minor by undergraduate students from a Dutch university of applied sciences," Working Papers 2012/06, Maastricht School of Management.
    2. Easterlin, Richard A., 1993. "Prices and Preferences in Choice of Career: The Switch to Business, 1972-87," Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education DP-21, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    3. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Preferences and prices in choice of career: The switch to business, 1972-1987," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 1-34, June.
    4. Si, Xiaojing & Foley, Maggie & Boylan, Robert & Cebula, Richard, 2011. "The Return to Investment in Human Capital: The Case of the Value of Educational Attainment beyond the High School Diploma in Canada," MPRA Paper 53164, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Beverley Jackling & Claude Calero, 2006. "Influences on Undergraduate Students' Intentions to become Qualified Accountants: Evidence from Australia," Accounting Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(4), pages 419-438.

    More about this item


    choice of major; earnings; earnings growth;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials


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