Sociocultural Background and Choice of STEM Majors at University

64 Pages Posted: 4 May 2016  

Volker Grossmann

University of Fribourg - Faculty of Economics and Social Science; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Aderonke Osikominu

University of Hohenheim

Marius Dominik Osterfeld

University of Fribourg - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 2016

Abstract

This paper examines the role of the sociocultural background of students for choosing STEM majors at university. We combine survey data on university graduates in Switzerland with municipality level information from the census, referenda and elections. We characterize a student's home environment with respect to political attitudes and religious background. Our empirical estimates are based on a generalized Roy model for the choice of study field. Identification exploits individual differences in the cost of studying a STEM field. Students from conservative backgrounds are more likely to study a STEM field, with a stronger response of men compared with women.

Keywords: Choice of field of study, Generalized Roy model, Sociocultural environment, STEM fields

JEL Classification: I20

Suggested Citation

Grossmann, Volker and Osikominu, Aderonke and Osterfeld, Marius Dominik, Sociocultural Background and Choice of STEM Majors at University (April 2016). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP11250. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2774364

Volker Grossmann (Contact Author)

University of Fribourg - Faculty of Economics and Social Science ( email )

Fribourg, CH 1700
Switzerland

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Aderonke Osikominu

University of Hohenheim ( email )

Stuttgart
Germany

Marius Dominik Osterfeld

University of Fribourg - Department of Economics ( email )

Fribourg
Switzerland

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