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Economic Benefits of Studying Economics in Canada: A Comparison of Wages of Economics Majors with those in Other Disciplines Circa 2005


  • Akbari, Ather H.
  • Aydede, Yigit


In universities across many western countries, student enrolments in economics discipline rose sharply towards the end of last decade but not in Canada. One reason for this outcome may be the continued perception of Canadian students of a lower economic reward to an economics degree. Using micro data from the 2006 census, we perform a comparative analysis of the wages earned by university degree holders in 50 disciplines in relation to economics. At undergraduate level, economics majors earned the 9th highest average wage in 2005, after controlling for demographic variables. On average, after controlling for demographic differences, workers whose wages were below those of economics majors earned about 16 percent lower while those who earned above economics majors earned about 10 percent higher. Similarity of their wages with physical science majors and their wage advantage over political science majors are also striking findings of this study. At graduate level, economics majors have greater wage advantage over other disciplines except for the business majors.

Suggested Citation

  • Akbari, Ather H. & Aydede, Yigit, 2013. "Economic Benefits of Studying Economics in Canada: A Comparison of Wages of Economics Majors with those in Other Disciplines Circa 2005," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2013-6, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 25 Feb 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:ubc:clssrn:clsrn_admin-2013-6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dan A. Black & Seth Sanders & Lowell Taylor, 2003. "The Economic Reward for Studying Economics," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(3), pages 365-377, July.
    2. Philip Lewis & Anne Daly & Don Fleming, 2004. "Why Study Economics? The Private Rate Of Return To An Economics Degree," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 23(3), pages 234-243, September.
    3. Alex Millmow & Cheryl Bookallil, 2006. "Girls And Economics: An Unlikely Coupling?," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 25(3), pages 221-234, September.
    4. Ross Finnie & Alex Usher, 2007. "Room at the Top: Strategies for Increasing the Number of Graduate Students in Canada," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 245, February.
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    More about this item


    Education; Economics degree ; Economic returns to human capital; Wage differentials;

    JEL classification:

    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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