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Choosing a career in Science and Technology

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  • Tacsir, Ezequiel

    () (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht University)

Abstract

Student choice is at the center of many discussions about higher education policy. At the same time, and regardless of the emphasis put on achieving an important endowment of graduates trained in science and engineering, participation in these fields is stagnated or declining. Evidence suggests that the provision of additional scholarships for science and engineering students or abolishing the tuition fees will have practically no impact. The major problem seems to be that science and engineering programs suffer from a poor image, including as being difficult, leading to lower earning potentials than other specializations. The present study contributes to our understanding of the student choice process by highlighting by means of binomial probit with selection model (Van den Ven and Van Praag, 1981) the factors and dimensions that influence the choicew of field of study. Specifically, we will show the role that non-pecuniary rewards play in the selection process. Using results from a self-designed survey to young individuals finishing high school in Argentina, we show that when factors as the social respect and expected labour demand are considered, the income expectations become irrelevant for the decision about what type of career to follow at the university. Specifically, those inclined towards science, technology and engineering fields are motivated by the belief of obtaining important rewards in the form of social rewards (i.e., reputation) and the expectation of graduating from a highly demanded university career.

Suggested Citation

  • 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).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2010014
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    File URL: https://www.merit.unu.edu/publications/wppdf/2010/wp2010-014.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sicherman, Nachum & Galor, Oded, 1990. "A Theory of Career Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(1), pages 169-192, February.
    2. Magali Beffy & Denis Fougère & Arnaud Maurel, 2012. "Choosing the Field of Study in Postsecondary Education: Do Expected Earnings Matter?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 334-347, February.
    3. Neal, Derek, 1999. "The Complexity of Job Mobility among Young Men," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 237-261, April.
    4. Miller, Robert A, 1984. "Job Matching and Occupational Choice," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(6), pages 1086-1120, December.
    5. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2004. "Ability sorting and the returns to college major," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 343-375.
    6. Robert H. Topel & Michael P. Ward, 1992. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 439-479.
    7. Montmarquette, Claude & Cannings, Kathy & Mahseredjian, Sophie, 2002. "How do young people choose college majors?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 543-556, December.
    8. Paul M. Romer, 2001. "Should the Government Subsidize Supply or Demand in the Market for Scientists and Engineers?," NBER Chapters,in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 1, pages 221-252 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Massimiliano Bratti, 2005. "Social Class and Undergraduate Degree Subject in the UK," UNIMI - Research Papers in Economics, Business, and Statistics unimi-1015, Universitá degli Studi di Milano.
    10. Boudarbat, Brahim, 2004. "Earnings and Community College Field of Study Choice in Canada," IZA Discussion Papers 1156, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Cited by:

    1. Tacsir, Ezequiel, 2010. "Occupation Choice: Family, Social and Market Influences," MERIT Working Papers 013, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    2. Tacsir, Ezequiel, 2010. "Making your own future: Expectations and occupation choice," MERIT Working Papers 058, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Occupational Choice; Professions; Public Policy;

    JEL classification:

    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations
    • J48 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Particular Labor Markets; Public Policy
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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