ERIC Number: EJ1039163
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-May
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 94
How Do Academic Achievement and Gender Affect the Earnings of STEM Majors? A Propensity Score Matching Approach
Olitsky, Neal H.
Research in Higher Education, v55 n3 p245-271 May 2014
The United States government recently enacted a number of policies designed to increase the number of American born students graduating with degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), especially among women and racial and ethnic minorities. This study examines how the earnings benefits of choosing a STEM major vary both by gender and across the distribution of academic achievement. I account for the selection into college major using propensity score matching. Measures of individual educational preferences based on Holland's theory of career and educational choice provide a unique way to control for college major selection. Findings indicate that the earnings benefit to STEM major choice ranges from 5 to 28% depending both on academic achievement and on gender and that high-achieving students benefit more from STEM major choice. Further, high achieving men benefit more from STEM majors than high-achieving women. Earnings differences in major choice may play an important role in explaining the underrepresentation of women in STEM major fields, especially among high achieving students.
Descriptors: STEM Education, Womens Education, Females, Ethnic Groups, Minority Groups, Majors (Students), Academic Achievement, College Students, Preferences, Career Choice, Outcomes of Education, Salaries, Gender Differences, High Achievement, Males, Disproportionate Representation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A