Panel: The Determinants and Consequences of College Major Choice

Saturday, November 9, 2019: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Plaza Building: Concourse Level, Governor's Square 10 (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizer:  Emily E. Cook, University of Virginia
Panel Chair:  Sarah Turner, University of Virginia
Discussants:  Christopher Neilson, Princeton University and Lesley Turner, University of Maryland

This session explores the determinants and consequences of college major choice. Prior research has noted that employment outcomes and earnings for college graduates differ markedly by field of study: estimates of the earnings differential across major categories are typically in the range of 20 to 50 percentage points, with Humanities and Social Sciences at the bottom of the range and Business and Engineering at the top. In this policy context, public and private programs that support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education at all levels have gained traction. Concurrently, research interest has focused on understanding the determinants of college major choice and the causal implications of college major on wage differences and other labor market outcomes. This session speaks to this line of research and the surrounding policy issues using a range of methods, including descriptive, quasi-experimental and structural econometric models. Specifically, the papers explore how students choose colleges and majors, and the implications of college major choice for migration and the gender gap in STEM occupations.

Competing Campuses: College Majors, Net Price and Admissions
Emily E. Cook, University of Virginia

The Role of Spatial Concentration on the Migration of College Majors
Joel P. McGuire, Colorado State University and Tyler M. Ransom, University of Oklahoma; Institute for the Study of Labor

Timing Is Everything: Evidence from College Major Decisions
Richard W. Patterson1,2,3, Nolan Pope4 and Aaron Feudo1, (1)United States Military Academy, (2)IZA, (3)CESifo, (4)University of Maryland

See more of: Education
See more of: Panel