Foreign Student Share and Supply of STEM-Designated Economics Programs

20 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2023 Last revised: 3 Jan 2024

See all articles by Sie Won Kim

Sie Won Kim

Texas Tech University - Department of Economics

Date Written: December 15, 2023


Over the past decade, there has been a significant increase in the number of U.S. departments offering STEM-eligible degree programs in economics. I document this trend of STEM-degree offerings across degree levels and examine the share of foreign students and other characteristics of departments that offer STEM-eligible programs. Using difference-in-differences and tobit regression models, I find that departments with a proportion of foreign students above the median are 6 and 8 percentage points more likely to offer a STEM-eligible degree program at the bachelor's and master's levels, respectively, compared to departments below the median. Additionally, graduate programs are more likely to offer STEM-economics programs earlier than undergraduate programs, potentially due to their strong quantitative foundation and large shares of international students. Also, early adopters of STEM-eligible programs are associated with private institutions and doctoral and research institutions. Including general economics to the STEM-eligible list at the graduate level could potentially reduce the administrative burden on departments.

Keywords: STEM, economics major, international students, higher education

JEL Classification: I21, I23, A22, A23

Suggested Citation

Kim, Sie Won, Foreign Student Share and Supply of STEM-Designated Economics Programs (December 15, 2023). Available at SSRN: or

Sie Won Kim (Contact Author)

Texas Tech University - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 41014
Lubbock, TX 79409
United States


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