College choice and choice of major are the most important decisions for future earnings. It is still unclear, however, what makes a greater difference—college or major—or whether a choice of college matters more for some majors, but not the others. Using cross-classified models and College Scorecard data, I show that a discipline is more consequential for future earnings than a college. The effect of STEM is substantial but is less pronounced at institutions with higher overall median earnings. The effect of college selectivity on earnings is more pronounced for non-STEM disciplines. Institutional characteristics—such as tuition, shares of graduates receiving different forms of financial aid, institutional size and location, and type of college—correlate with earnings of graduates. Racial and gender composition of an educational program correlate with expected earnings of its graduates even after control for other institutional and disciplinary characteristics. Models presented here provide a better understanding of the effect of college and major choices on future earnings.
Muse, W. B.; Muse, I. College Selectivity, Choice of Major, and Post-College Earnings. Journal of Economic Analysis, 2024, 3, 55. https://doi.org/10.58567/jea03020003
Muse W B, Muse I. College Selectivity, Choice of Major, and Post-College Earnings. Journal of Economic Analysis; 2024, 3(2):55. https://doi.org/10.58567/jea03020003
Muse, William B.; Muse, Iryna 2024. "College Selectivity, Choice of Major, and Post-College Earnings" Journal of Economic Analysis 3, no.2: 55. https://doi.org/10.58567/jea03020003
Muse, W. B., & Muse, I. (2024). College Selectivity, Choice of Major, and Post-College Earnings. Journal of Economic Analysis, 3(2), 55. https://doi.org/10.58567/jea03020003
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