NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Effect of Labor Market Information on Community College Students' Major Choice

Rachel Baker, Eric Bettinger, Brian Jacob, Ioana Marinescu

NBER Working Paper No. 23333
Issued in April 2017
NBER Program(s):CH, ED, LS, PE

An important goal of community colleges is to prepare students for the labor market. But are students aware of the labor market outcomes in different majors? And how much do students weigh labor market outcomes when choosing a major? In this study we find that less than 40% of a sample of community college students in California rank broad categories of majors accurately in terms of labor market outcomes. However, students believe that salaries are 13 percent higher than they actually are, on average, and students underestimate the probability of being employed by almost 25 percent. We find that the main determinants of major choice are beliefs about course enjoyment and grades, but expected labor market outcomes also matter. Experimental estimates of the impact of expected labor market outcomes are larger than OLS estimates and show that a 1% increase in salary is associated with a 1.4 to 1.8% increase in the probability of choosing a specific category of majors.

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

Access to NBER Papers

You are eligible for 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:

Supplementary materials for this paper:

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23333

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Hastings, Neilson, and Zimmerman w21300 The Effects of Earnings Disclosure on College Enrollment Decisions
Acemoglu and Restrepo w23285 Robots and Jobs: Evidence from US Labor Markets
Newell and Siikämaki w19224 Nudging Energy Efficiency Behavior: The Role of Information Labels
Costinot, Donaldson, and Smith w20079 Evolving Comparative Advantage and the Impact of Climate Change in Agricultural Markets: Evidence from 1.7 Million Fields around the World
Oreopoulos and Petronijevic w22630 Student Coaching: How Far Can Technology Go?
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

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

Contact Us