NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

A Major in Science? Initial Beliefs and Final Outcomes for College Major and Dropout

Ralph Stinebrickner, Todd R. Stinebrickner

NBER Working Paper No. 19165
Issued in June 2013
NBER Program(s):   ED

Taking advantage of unique longitudinal data, we provide the first characterization of what college students believe at the time of entrance about their final major, relate these beliefs to actual major outcomes, and, provide an understanding of why students hold the initial beliefs about majors that they do. The data collection and analysis are based directly on a conceptual model in which a student's final major is best viewed as the end result of a learning process. We find that students enter school quite optimistic/interested about obtaining a science degree, but that relatively few students end up graduating with a science degree. The substantial overoptimism about completing a degree in science can be attributed largely to students beginning school with misperceptions about their ability to perform well academically in science.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Information about Free Papers

You should expect a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19165

Published: Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd R. Stinebrickner, 2014. "A Major in Science? Initial Beliefs and Final Outcomes for College Major and Dropout," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(1), pages 426-472. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Stinebrickner and Stinebrickner w16869 Math or Science? Using Longitudinal Expectations Data to Examine the Process of Choosing a College Major
Stange w19183 Differential Pricing in Undergraduate Education: Effects on Degree Production by Field
Oreopoulos and Petronijevic w19053 Making College Worth It: A Review of Research on the Returns to Higher Education
Altonji, Blom, and Meghir w17985 Heterogeneity in Human Capital Investments: High School Curriculum, College Major, and Careers
Stinebrickner and Stinebrickner w18945 Academic Performance and College Dropout: Using Longitudinal Expectations Data to Estimate a Learning Model
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

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

Contact Us