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Media Attention and Choice of Major: Evidence from Anti-Doctor Violence in China


  • Bo, Shiyu
  • Chen, Y. Joy
  • Song, Yan
  • Zhou, Sen


We study the relationship between media attention and major choices by evaluating how newspaper reports on violence against doctors in China deter students from choosing medicine as their college majors. We collect relevant articles from over 1,200 newspapers and combine them with an administrative dataset including the universe of students admitted to Chinese colleges from 2005 to 2011. An additional article on violence against doctors leads to a 0.5 percent decrease in the number of students choosing medicine majors, especially majors training physicians and nurses. Students attending elite colleges and with above-median test scores are more responsive to media attention. Consequently, it significantly reduces the quality of admitted medical students, measured by their entrance exam performance.

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  • Bo, Shiyu & Chen, Y. Joy & Song, Yan & Zhou, Sen, 2018. "Media Attention and Choice of Major: Evidence from Anti-Doctor Violence in China," GLO Discussion Paper Series 284, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:284

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    1. Claire S. H. Lim & James M. Snyder Jr. & David Strömberg Jr., 2015. "The Judge, the Politician, and the Press: Newspaper Coverage and Criminal Sentencing across Electoral Systems," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 103-135, October.
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    4. Fricke, Hans & Grogger, Jeffrey & Steinmayr, Andreas, 2018. "Exposure to academic fields and college major choice," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 199-213.
    5. Currie, Janet & Lin, Wanchuan & Meng, Juanjuan, 2014. "Addressing antibiotic abuse in China: An experimental audit study," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 39-51.
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    Media attention; College majors; Occupational choice; Health care;
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