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How Do College Students Respond to Public Information about Earnings?

Matthew Wiswall () and Basit Zafar

Journal of Human Capital, 2015, vol. 9, issue 2, 117 - 169

Abstract: Expectations are important determinants of decisions made under uncertainty, and if individuals' expectations are biased, they can make suboptimal choices. This paper uses a unique "information" experiment in which we provide college students true information about the population distribution of earnings. We find that college students are substantially misinformed about population earnings and revise their earnings beliefs in a sensible way in response to the information. The specificity and informativeness of the signal matters for updating. There is, however, substantial heterogeneity in students' updating heuristics. We also find that students revise their intended major in response to the information.

Date: 2015
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