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(Em)powered by Science? Estimating the Causal Effect of High School Major Choice on Labor Market Earnings in India
Published in Elsevier BV
2021
Pages: 1 - 57
Abstract

Despite widespread belief that majoring in science in high school has a greater payoff in the Indian labor market than majoring in business/humanities, there is no hard evidence to substantiate this thought. Here I provide the first evidence of the causal effect of majoring in science on individuals' labor market outcomes relative to majoring in business/humanities using nationally representative data from India. Estimating the causal effect, however, is a formidable task since selection into high school major is nonrandom and exclusion restrictions are generally unavailable. I circumvent these difficulties by employing a recently developed estimator that does not rely on valid exclusion restriction for identification. I find that majoring in science has a negative causal effect on individuals' employment probability. Conditional on being employed, however, my results indicate that majoring in science has a positive causal effect on individuals' labor earnings and probability of being engaged in a professional occupation. These findings suggest that the labor market effects of majoring in science in high school in India, contrary to conventional wisdom, is not a plain tale of 'science premium'.

About the journal
JournalData powered by TypesetSSRN Electronic Journal
PublisherData powered by TypesetElsevier BV
Open AccessYes