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Sources of Economics Majors: More Biology, Less Business

Hirschel Kasper
Southern Economic Journal
Vol. 75, No. 2 (Oct., 2008), pp. 457-472
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27751395
Page Count: 16
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Sources of Economics Majors: More Biology, Less Business
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Abstract

This paper uses national data from 1975 to 2003 to examine which alternative academic disciplines were chosen by undergraduates as if they were complements to, or substitutes for, an economics major. One familiar hypothesis suggests that majoring in economics is a reluctant choice for students more interested in a business major. However, when the proportion of economics majors is considered across all disciplines, I find a striking inverse relation between the shares of graduating majors in economics and those in biology; no relationship between any other two disciplines is closer. The paper closes with speculations about possible reasons for the strong negative relation between the shares of graduates in biology and economics.

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