The Analysis of Field Choice in College and Graduate School: Determinants and Wage Effects

123 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2015 Last revised: 3 Sep 2021

See all articles by Joseph G. Altonji

Joseph G. Altonji

Yale University - Economic Growth Center; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Peter Arcidiacono

Duke University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Arnaud Maurel

Duke University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Date Written: October 2015

Abstract

As the workforce has become more educated, educational decisions are no longer just about whether to acquire more, but rather what type of education to pursue. In college, individuals somewhat specialize through their choice of college major. Further specialization occurs in graduate school. This chapter investigates how majors and graduate school affect labor market outcomes as well as how the individuals make these potentially important decisions. To do so, we develop a dynamic model of educational decision-making. In light of the model, we examine the estimation issues associated with obtaining causal effects of educational choices on earnings. We then examine ways that authors have overcome the selection problem as well as the approaches authors have taken to estimate the process by which these educational decisions are made.

Suggested Citation

Altonji, Joseph G. and Arcidiacono, Peter and Maurel, Arnaud, The Analysis of Field Choice in College and Graduate School: Determinants and Wage Effects (October 2015). NBER Working Paper No. w21655, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2679693

Joseph G. Altonji (Contact Author)

Yale University - Economic Growth Center ( email )

Box 208269
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Yale University - Cowles Foundation

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Peter Arcidiacono

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Arnaud Maurel

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

213 Social Sciences Building
Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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United States

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )

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