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The Changing Occupational Distribution by College Major

Michael Ransom () and Aaron Phipps

No 10193, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: In this paper we examine the occupational distribution of individuals who hold bachelor degrees in particular fields in the United States using data from the various waves of the National Survey of College Graduates. We propose and calculate indexes that describe two related aspects of the occupational distribution by major field of study: distinctiveness (how dissimilar are the occupations of a particular major when compared with all other majors) and variety (how varied are the occupations among those who hold that particular major). We discuss theoretical properties of these indices and statistical properties of their estimates. We show that the occupational variety has increased since 1993 for most major fields of study, particularly between the 1993 and 2003 waves of the survey. We explore reasons for this broadening of the occupation distribution. We find that this has not led to an increase in reported mismatch between degree and occupation.

Keywords: college major; occupation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I23 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 56 pages
Date: 2016-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-lma
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Published - published in: Research in Labor Economics, 2017, 45, 129-171

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