Major Choices : Undergraduate Concentrations and the Probability of Graduation

We develop a model of the decision-making process in which the perceived probability of success in a major is the central determinant of the choice of a major. Using 1979-1987 data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we employ a two-step procedure that first evaluates, for all the individuals in the sample, the chances of success in all majors. Second, with a multinominal logit model of discrete choice, we explain the individuals choice of a major with his or her estimated probability of success and characteristics. This paper shows that the choice of college concentration depends on the perceived probability of success in a particular concentration. There are, however significant differences across groups and for students who have a high probability of success in all majors.
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