Is it Where You Go or What You Study? The Relative Influence of College Selectivity and College Major on Earnings

10 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2016

See all articles by Eric Eide

Eric Eide

Brigham Young University

Michael J. Hilmer

San Diego State University - Department of Economics

k H. Showalter

Brigham Young University

Date Written: January 2016

Abstract

All college students must decide where to attend college and what major to study. We estimate how earnings by college major differ at different college selectivity types. We find majorā€specific earnings vary markedly by college selectivity, with the strongest differences among business majors and the weakest differences among science majors. We also find that when comparing earnings of graduates from top colleges to middle or bottom ranked colleges, the distribution of students across majors can be as important as earnings differences by major in accounting for college selectivity earnings gaps.

JEL Classification: I2, J3

Suggested Citation

Eide, Eric and Hilmer, Michael J. and Showalter, Mark H., Is it Where You Go or What You Study? The Relative Influence of College Selectivity and College Major on Earnings (January 2016). Contemporary Economic Policy, Vol. 34, Issue 1, pp. 37-46, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2716476 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/coep.12115

Eric Eide (Contact Author)

Brigham Young University ( email )

Provo, UT 84602
United States

Michael J. Hilmer

San Diego State University - Department of Economics ( email )

5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182
United States

Mark H. Showalter

Brigham Young University ( email )

Provo, UT 84602
United States

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