Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Why You Should Be an Economics Major

For those of you getting ready to go off to college (perhaps to OSU) and still wondering what to study, here are some data:

Annual pay for Bachelors graduates without higher degrees. Typical starting graduates have 2 years of experience; mid-career have 15 years. See full methodology for more.

See the full report here. HT: Greg Mankiw, who notes that this is not necessarily value-added since it does not control for self-selection. For example studies have shown that more attractive people do better in the job market and everyone knows that the most attractive college students are always the econ majors. Oh, and it also does not account for people who got a degree in these fields and are unemployed. So, for example, Aerosopace engineering may be incredibly lucrative, but only for those who can actually land a job (get it? ... 'land' a job ... I crack myself up) - jobs are scarce. So, you'll be happy to know that the employment rate for econ majors is very good.

And what can you do with your degree? Here is a list of the most popular choices and the median salary:

jobs for economics degreejobs for economics degree
Jobs ranked by popularity among graduates. Annual pay for Bachelors graduates without higher degrees from all colleges. See full methodology for more.


Rob Pitingolo said...

The list doesn't much surprise me, but I do wonder if there are a few things that skew economics grads upward.

A friend of mine who goes to an elite east-coast business school tells me that many (if not most) of the econ majors in his class have dreams of going straight to Wall Street after graduation. In which case, you would have a decent number of econ majors without advanced degrees making absurd amounts of money (at least if Michael Lewis’s portrayal in Liar’s Poker is still accurate).

Coming from a less prestigious Midwest business school, I can say that there aren’t too many people at my school dreaming about Wall Street. Most of the econ majors in my class will go on to work typical entry-level business jobs or do the grad school thing; few (if any) will probably make more than $100k for many years.

I’d be curious to see how the numbers would look if you stripped out the sample of econ grads working on Wall Street. I suspect econ grad salaries would still be above the median, maybe even in the top quartile, but I’m skeptical that it would still be in the top 10.

Austin said...

Yes , We should be economics major. It will be beneficial for your house and many other things. So thanks for information regarding this.

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