Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wanna be a Part of the 1%? Study Economics

Catherine Rampell of the New York Times has a nice little post on what the 1% majored in.  A little surprising to me is how big a percentage are economics majors.  But this is undergraduate degrees and lots of econ majors go into business, finance, law, etc.  Still the market has spoken about the utility and value of economics training (let the snark fest begin)!  Here is Rampell's table.:

Undergraduate DegreeTotal% Who Are 1 PercentersShare of All 1 Percenters
Health and Medical Preparatory Programs142,34511.8%0.9%
Biochemical Sciences193,7697.2%0.7%
International Relations146,7816.7%0.5%
Political Science and Government1,427,2246.2%4.7%
Art History and Criticism137,3575.9%0.4%
Molecular Biology64,9515.6%0.2%
Area, Ethnic and Civilization Studies184,9065.2%0.5%
Business Economics108,1464.6%0.3%
Miscellaneous Psychology61,2574.3%0.1%
Philosophy and Religious Studies448,0954.3%1.0%
Chemical Engineering347,9594.1%0.8%
Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration334,0163.9%0.7%
English Language and Literature1,938,9883.8%3.8%
Miscellaneous Biology52,8953.7%0.1%


Dann Cutter said...

Does this ground truth for those already part of the 1% when choosing a major? At the Ivy Leagues, Economics is a much more popular major proportionally than at other institutions. Many of the students come from influential and wealthy families already.

So... does majoring in Economics make you rich, or does being rich encourage majoring in Economics to understand how to handle your wealth?

More importantly, non-with-standing the surveys that show a marginally better salary for Econ majors than many fields outside medicine and engineering, how many of the 1% became so 'after' studying Economics?

(you have mentioned many times in the past, correlation vs causation, etc)

Patrick Emerson said...

See Dann, we have already taught you well, you are already primed to become a 1%-er! Absolutely correct, selection into the major is probably a major reason for this correlation, those whose goal is to become a 1%-er (or from families whose wealth already puts them there) may be more likely to choose economics as a major.