Are We Role Models?: A Multinomial Mixed Logit Model of Major Choice in an Undergraduate Institution
Colgate Economics Discussion Paper #95-07
Posted: 4 Mar 1997
Date Written: November 1995
Implicit in discussions of affirmative action policies in university hiring practices is the assumption that the faculty gender and minority composition of an academic department exerts a positive effect on the likelihood of like gender and minority undergraduates to major in that academic department. This paper uses individual-level data from student records, transcript records, and faculty records from the Colgate University classes of 1988-1995 in a model of undergraduate major choice. Information regarding the gender and race of each faculty member that each student encounters allows for an empirical investigation of major choice in which the characteristics of the student and the characteristics of the faculty are allowed to influence the choice of major. We find that, ceteris paribus, the gender and minority composition of an academic department's faculty affects undergraduates' choice of major, a result which lends support to the notion that faculty members can exert a role model effect on undergraduates.
JEL Classification: I21, J15, J70
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation