We investigate the wage return to studying economics by leveraging a policy that prevented students with low introductory grades from declaring a major. Students who barely met the grade point average threshold to major in economics earned $22,000 (46 percent) higher annual early-career wages than they would have with their second-choice majors. Access to the economics major shifts students' preferences toward business/finance careers, and about half of the wage return is explained by economics majors working in higher-paying industries. The causal return to majoring in economics is very similar to observational earnings differences in nationally representative data.
Bleemer, Zachary, and Aashish Mehta.
"Will Studying Economics Make You Rich? A Regression Discontinuity Analysis of the Returns to College Major."
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics,
Economic Education and Teaching of Economics: Undergraduate
Returns to Education
Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials