Breadth of University Curriculum and Labor Market Outcomes

46 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2020 Last revised: 16 Jun 2020

See all articles by Kelvin Seah

Kelvin Seah

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Economics

Jessica Pan

National University of Singapore (NUS)

Poh Lin Tan

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

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Abstract

We explore whether the choice of broad versus specialized university curricula affects subsequent labor market outcomes, as measured by earnings, full-time permanent employment, and unemployment six months after university graduation. We exploit a unique episode in the history of the National University of Singapore, in which a university-wide revision in graduation requirements in 2007 prompted students in one of the largest faculties to read a narrower, more specialized, curriculum. Using a difference-in-differences strategy, we compare changes in the labor market outcomes of graduate cohorts from the affected faculty, before-and-after the curriculum revision, to changes in the labor market outcomes of graduate cohorts from the other faculties. We do not find evidence that curriculum breadth matters for these labor market outcomes. Similar conclusions are obtained using regression-control strategies and rich administrative data on student characteristics and academic ability for the broader population of undergraduates at NUS.

Keywords: university curriculum, curriculum breadth, difference-in-differences, earnings, employment

JEL Classification: I21, J31

Suggested Citation

Seah, Kelvin and Pan, Jessica and Tan, Poh Lin, Breadth of University Curriculum and Labor Market Outcomes. IZA Discussion Paper No. 13364, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3627066

Kelvin Seah (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Economics ( email )

21 Lower Kent Ridge Rd
Singapore, 119077
Malaysia

Jessica Pan

National University of Singapore (NUS) ( email )

1E Kent Ridge Road
NUHS Tower Block Level 7
Singapore, 119228
Singapore

Poh Lin Tan

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy ( email )

Singapore 117591
Singapore

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