New Paper on BA Majors and Self-Employment

A new working paper by Chad Moutray of the SBA investigates the relationship between choice of major or field of study as an undergrad and employment choices down the road. The paper follows 1993 grads and follows them through 2003. I haven’t read it yet, but looks like it is going to have some good insights and . From the SBA (download paper)….

This working paper, “Baccalaureate Education and the Employment Decision: Self Employment and the Class of 1993,” utilizes the U.S. Department of Education’s Baccalaureate & Beyond (B&B) data series, to delve into the relation of collegiate education to the employment decision. The study shows that one’s choice of college major is a major determinant of whether one becomes self-employed or chooses wage-and-salary work.

A snippet from the beginning of the paper:

The self-employed, for instance, are less likely to have high concentrations of education, engineering, math or science majors. Business and management majors ar emore likely to work for a for-profit business, with social science and “others” majors gravitating toward self-employment.

The self-employed tend to have slightly lower grade point averages (GPAs) than their wage-and-salary peers. Those with higher GPAs are likely to pursue an occupation in the not-for-profit or government sectors.

The self-employed, in greater proportion than the population as a whole, either earn less than $20,000 or $100,000 or more. Such a U-shaped distribution suggests the wide variation of career options and financial pay-outs among the self-employed; some entrepreneurial occupations pay very little while others pay above average.

Pretty interesting data points that have a lot of potential avenues for analysis. I will share some more thoughts when I read the paper. Any initial thoughts? Sounds like there are lots of struggling artists among the self-employed?


2 thoughts on “New Paper on BA Majors and Self-Employment

  1. Pingback: Economic Doldrums = Renewed Love for Economists « The Moutray Chronicles

  2. Pingback: Campus Entrepreneurs as Misfits Schools Can’t Handle? « Campus Entrepreneurship

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