Double Your Major, Double Your Return?

34 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2007

See all articles by Alison F. Del Rossi

Alison F. Del Rossi

Saint Lawrence University - Department of Economics

Joni Hersch

Vanderbilt University - Law School; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management; Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics

Abstract

We use the 2003 National Survey of College Graduates to provide the first estimates of the effect on earnings of having a double major. Overall, double majoring increases earnings by 2.3 percent relative to having a single major among college graduates without graduate degrees. Most of the gains from having a double major come from choosing fields across two different major categories. Graduates who combine an arts, humanities or social science major with a major in business, engineering, science or math have returns 7 to 50 percent higher than graduates with a single major in arts, humanities or social science. But such double major combinations have returns no higher than single majors in business, engineering, science or math. Majors combining business and science or math have returns more than 50 percent greater than the returns to having a single major in these fields.

Keywords: college major, human capital, rate of return

JEL Classification: I21, J24, J31

Suggested Citation

Del Rossi, Alison F. and Hersch, Joni, Double Your Major, Double Your Return?. Economics of Education Review, Forthcoming; Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 07-09. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=980772

Alison F. Del Rossi

Saint Lawrence University - Department of Economics ( email )

One Romoda Drive
Canton, NY 13617
United States

Joni Hersch (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615-343-7717 (Phone)
615-322-6631 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/go/phdlawecon

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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

Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management

401 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
United States

Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics

Box 1819 Station B
Nashville, TN 37235
United States

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