Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Interesting New Paper

Did your peers influence your choice of major?

Be as Careful of the Company You Keep as of the Books You Read:
Peer Effects in Education and on the Labor Market
by Giacomo DeGiorgi, Michele Pellizzari, Silvia Redaelli - #14948 (ED)


In this paper we investigate whether peers' behavior influences the
choice of college major, thus contributing to the mismatch of skills
in the labor market. Using a newly constructed dataset, we are able
to identify the endogenous effect of peers on such decisions through
a novel identification strategy that solves the common econometric
problems of studies of social interactions. Results show that,
indeed, one is more likely to choose a major when many of her peers
make the same choice. We also provide evidence on skills mismatch in
terms of entry wages and occupation. We find that peers can divert
students from majors in which they have a relative ability advantage,
with adverse consequences on academic performance, entry wages and
job satisfaction.


Its interesting to me that they have found a correlation with this. I myself, in part, chose to become an economics major as a result of a friend of mine, as well as my dad, being an economics major. I never thought about that being a contributing factor but now that I take time to think about it, it makes sense.
This is not surprising to me at all. When I was growing up, everyone around me told me that I should major in this subject and major in that subject.Trying to get me to go down the same road they did. All of which is coming at a time in life when you really have no idea as to what it is you want to do. I myself was influenced a lot by my piers to become a geologist. But ended up in the economics field after talking to a fellow econ major my freshman year. Graduates around you most definitely play a major roll as to what one might major in.
I think it is absolutely true that your peers help influence what major you decide to pursue. I had a couple friends the other day who were arguing whether it matters what field you major in or just the fact that you completed college is enough. Interestingly enough, one of my friends used his father as an example of how it does not matter what you major in, apparently his father majored in psychology and even went back for a masters later on and still ended up being a very successful investment banker, this story actually had a pretty significant effect on one of the younger people listening in. Another interesting example that I know of is that some of my friends who are involved in athletic teams here, a lot of them will choose the same major as a couple of their teammates for various reasons, whether it be that their teammate convinced them to or they just wanted to have someone else go through the work with. All things considered I think peers play a huge role in helping people decide their majors.
I believe that it does to a certain extent because what happens when somebody goes to college, usually we are not certain what we want to do in the future. We have lot of interest in everything. We are also economist so we want to work but we want to get the most out of the invested hours of studying. When we hear a teammate, classmate talking about good opportunities within a major, for example interesting classes, good professors, good future occupations that the major could help you to gain...all these ideas would make us think about what we want to do in life and whether or not it is within our circle of interest. Usually some friends have similar interest, so working towards a degree collectively could be very fun and motivational and competitive. According to my opinion, we are not as influenced by friends as oppose to family or tradition. I know that I am happy with my choice, I was not really effected by my peers in doing economics. It was something that happened to me.
Make perfect sense. In my own experience, I have always somehow taken on the culture of my close friends and my roommates. One year I lived with a couple of guys that partied a ridiculous amount. And I do mean RIDICULOUS. That year I went out a lot more than I ever have, and probably ever will. Another year I had a roommate that had never gotten less than an A in college, and was extremely studious. I've always been a slightly above average student, but the year I lived with this kid, my G.P.A. was higher than usual all three terms. Not only have I witnessed people choosing the same major just because their friends do, I've also noticed some of those people not being particularly happy or satisfied with their studies. There's no doubt in my mind that a good percentage of unhappy workers may have chosen the wrong field of study which resulted in a career path that isn't right for them
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10. I think this is totally right, because I am the one too. Most of my friends are business/economic major because of them I decided to study in economic. I didn’t really think is this major suit me or not. And right now, because my cousin is studying in CPA and my mom wants me to study in CPA. I am thinking to get the CPA. So, friends do influence my life. Of course, I have to see do I like it or not. I also think it is because they always talk about it and as you get more information about it. You will find that interesting and you will want to get involve.
We are definitely affected by our peers and our surrounding environment in general. I chose to be an econ major because I knew I wanted do some sort of international business but did not want to actually be a business major, because of the reputation that business majors have. I also considered the fact that econ majors are much less common than business majors, so I felt as though majoring in economics would be more beneficial to my future career, setting me apart from the average, more common, business major.
My friends definately didn't influence my major, I only have one friend that graduated with a b.s. in finance, the rest of my friends I feel like decided to take easy majors, but I already have a job lined up as a project engineer when I graduate this summer, and the ones that have graduated aren't doing anything, and the others that haven't I am sure won't get a job. Because I decided to push myself mentally I will have a good job lined up out of college while they will struggle in this economy, so I am glad I didn't let my friends change my major when times were tough instead they can have an easy college course load, and I will have it easy when it comes time to pay back student loans. I think that each student should do their own research when deciding on a major and not listen to what others may have to say to influence them. Most of our peers are still in college and don't know what kind of job they will even have when they graduate.
Peers definitely have an impact on the choice of which major one will choose. I feel like it comes from friends who may be a year or two older who have experienced classes and know what to expect. Which will cause the one being influenced possibly choose the wrong path and causes the mismatch. This has happened recently with some of my friends. One of my friends switched to Econ because he saw i was doing well in it and enjoying it. But as soon as he gets into the classes like 311, 313 or econometrics he will hate it because he is not the best with math or graphs and I tried explaining it to him. This will cause a mismatch and he will hate it. I think he likes the idea of Econ more so then the subject.
I do agree that your peers play a factor on your major choice. I myself didn't chose this major because of my peers but I did take certain classes just because so and so was going to take it. Especially my freshman year of college. It was a little scary going from a high school where I knew the majority of my class to a university where I knew a very small percentage of the people. This inclined me to sign up for the same classes as my roommate because we thought it would be fun to have together. Now, looking back. I regret doing so, I could have been done with my degree a long time ago..UGH..
I think it makes sense. Most of people are affected their major decision by their peers. I am also affected by my parents because they wanted me to study economics as they studied when they were students. In my case, when I was in home, there are a lot of economic stuffs and at least I was affected by this like readings. Moreover, students make friends someone during classes are common so they affect each other and decide their major.
I think this has a lot of validity to it. I have seen this in looking for jobs as well. I am an accounting major and I have known people whose different groups of friends all migrate towards one specific firm. It is interesting that this makes such a big difference. I guess when you are studying something, or working, a lot of whether you enjoy it or not has to do with the people around you. So if all of your friends choose one major or one firm, you will be more likely to be friends with the people you work with. I think this could be one benefit from this.
I think, at least for me personally, it is less about "peer pressure" leading me to a double major, but more of mentor guidance. I did not choose to be an Econ/Business major because of my friends doing so. In fact, I only know of two other Econ majors in my group of friends and we were all declared majors before meeting one another. However, I listened to family and an aptitude test, all of which said this would best suite my personality and aptitudes. I guess my brother-in-law at 10 years older than myself could be considered a peer, but I consider him more of mentor since I want to follow in his footsteps, rather than merely following the course because he did.
If I only want to graduate, peers will affect my majors. I am not so interesting in anything. If most of my friends are take the same major, I may feel that the major is easy and take that. If I have a really stronge interest about something. My peers can;t affect me anyway.
The idea that you would be likely to choose a major if your peers are in the major as well definitely makes sense. people often choose friends that are similar to themselves so it would make sense that similar people would like the same major. one idea that doesn't quite make sense to me is that someone would even choose a major even if they weren't very good at it or didn't enjoy it.
I feel that our peers have an influence over many of the actions and decisions in our life. I know for a fact that I started off as a business major because many of my friends were going off into that field. Also the fact that my parents own a business led me to think that I should be pursuing the same goals. I don't think this trend is necessarily a bad thing. Eventually, you realize what works and doesn't work for yourself.
This is relevant yet predictable. My father is a lawyer and the number 1 accepted undergrad degree into law schools is... ECON! But an in depth look would reveal there is signaling and screening factors that affect decision making that are correlated to peer pressure. If you associate with a group of people that pride themselves on high signals, for instance business school degrees, you are more likely to follow them. We also assume that the market's working professionals understand what the market needs. If one sector of the market needs more human capital growth than another, we are influenced into that particular field. There are so many endogenous and exogenous factors that lead us to make our decision, to disregard economic theory by discounting the influence of our peers is ignorant.
I absolutely agree that peers have an influence on your choice of major. Looking back to freshman year, when the time came to sign up for classes we all got together and tried to get in the same classes, even if the class really didnt have anything to do with what we were interested in. The same was also true when it came time to figure out what i was going to major in. I obviously had my own opinions on what i wanted to do but when i was trying to decide between econ and business, i did look to my friends to see who i would know in each of those to try to help make my decision.
I completely agree that our peers have a huge effect on our major choices. Our peers are the people who choose to surround ourselves with and we would be crazy not to surround ourselves with like minded people. I personally did not come into college thinking i was going to be an economics major but when i began to connect with the friends i made in my early econ classes, it seemed like the right choice to stay with these people, continue to take classes with them and see where it took me. Being close to people in the same major also offers the opportunity to learn from each other and have someone close to share ideas and questions with.
The part that intrigues me is that peers earn close to the same entry wage. I feel that peers have a large impact on your performance all around as a person. This could be the difference in being homeless and being considered wealthy. So many different decisions affect the path you take in life, so it is very true when most parents say "choose your friends wisely."
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