Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Returns to Studying Economics

Researchers at Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce have recently released a rather comprehensive report on salaries by undergraduate major. Entering college freshmen usually are quite ignorant that the median salaries can differ fourfold (Petroleum Engineering at $120,000 versus Counseling/Psychology at$29,000). I was. As a parent of a college-bound high school student, this is a great way to introduce him to the consequences of some rather important choices. A general theme appears to be the return to quantitative or scientific skills.

Among business degree holders, graduates with "Business Economics" majors had the highest median earnings ($75,000 versus $60,000 for all business). They are also more likely to go on to earn a graduate degree. Interestingly, their occupations appear to be very similar to Finance majors - they just earn more. Economics majors from social science do well too. In my case, it was just dumb luck that what I enjoyed doing turned out to be quite remunerative.


  1. We should tell our non-econ students about it. I'll definitely tell my students in ECON 2305.

  2. Wall St. Journal op-ed also hit this topic, good angle on the "Meathead Majors".