High School Human Capital Portfolio and College Outcomes

Posted: 28 Nov 2016

Date Written: December 14, 2015


This paper assesses the relationship between courses taken in high school and college major choice. It considers individuals as holding a portfolio of relative human capital rates that may either be similar to those in their major - specialized - or different from those in their major - diversified. Using High School and Beyond survey data, I find a U-shaped relationship between the diversification of high school courses portfolio, measured by the differences from the typical student in the major, and college performance. The underlying relation linking high school to college is assessed by estimating a structural model of high school human capital acquisition and college major choice. Policy experiments suggest that taking an additional quantitative course in high school increases the probability that a college student chooses a science, technology, engineering, or math major by four percentage points with little effect on college performance.

Keywords: human capital, discrete choice, college major

JEL Classification: J24, I21

Suggested Citation

Tchuente, Guy, High School Human Capital Portfolio and College Outcomes (December 14, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2875754

Guy Tchuente (Contact Author)

University of Kent ( email )

Keynes College, University of Kent
Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NP
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.kent.ac.uk/economics/staff/profiles/guy-tchuente.html

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