NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Empirics on the Origins of Preferences: The Case of College Major and Religiosity

Miles S. Kimball, Colter M. Mitchell, Arland D. Thornton, Linda C. Young-Demarco

NBER Working Paper No. 15182
Issued in July 2009
NBER Program(s):   EFG

Early life experiences are likely to be important for the formation of preferences. Religiosity is a key dimension of preferences, affecting many economic outcomes. This paper examines the effect of college major on religiosity, and the converse effect of religiosity on college major, using panel data from the Monitoring the Future survey as a way of gauging the extent to which various streams of thought, as taught in college, affect religiosity. Two key questions, based on the differences in college experience across majors, are whether either (a) the Scientific worldview or (b) Postmodernism has negative effects on religiosity as these streams of thought are actually transmitted at the college level. The results show a decline in religiosity of students majoring in the social sciences and humanities, but a rise in religiosity for those in education and business. After initial choices, those respondents with high levels of religiosity are more likely to enter college. Of those who are in college, people with high levels of religiosity tend to go into the humanities and education over other majors.

download in pdf format
   (277 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (277 K) or via email.

Acknowledgments

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15182

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Arcidiacono, Hotz, and Kang w15729 Modeling College Major Choices using Elicited Measures of Expectations and Counterfactuals
Sacerdote and Glaeser w8080 Education and Religion
Stinebrickner and Stinebrickner w16869 Math or Science? Using Longitudinal Expectations Data to Examine the Process of Choosing a College Major
Hungerman w16973 The Effect of Education on Religion: Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Laws
Altonji, Blom, and Meghir w17985 Heterogeneity in Human Capital Investments: High School Curriculum, College Major, and Careers
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us