Reshaping Aspirations: The Effects of the Great Recession on College Major Choice
52 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2016 Last revised: 14 Jun 2020
Date Written: March 14, 2019
How did the Great Recession affect the college degree field choices? Utilizing the geographic variation in the severity of the recession in the US, I answer this question using the differences-in-differences and synthetic controls approaches. I find that the Great Recession affected Communication, Interdisciplinary Sciences, and Psychology fields positively whereas it impacted Science and Engineering Technologies field negatively. To explore whether these impacts were systematic, I categorize fields based on their sensitivity to the Great Recession. The results show that there was a shift from recession-sensitive majors towards recession-resistant majors, suggesting students’ expectations about future labor market outcomes are affected by current shocks.
Keywords: Great Recession, College Major, Degree Field, Labor Market
JEL Classification: I23, I26, J24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation