August 2013

IZA DP No. 7584: Geographic Differences in the Earnings of Economics Majors

John V. Winters, Weineng Xu

published in: Journal of Economic Education, 2014, 45 (3), 262-276

Economics has been shown to be a relatively high earning college major, but geographic differences in earnings have been largely overlooked. This paper uses the American Community Survey to examine geographic differences in both absolute earnings and relative earnings for economic majors. We find that there are substantial geographic differences in both the absolute and relative earnings of economics majors even controlling for individual characteristics such as age and advanced degrees. We argue that mean earnings in specific labor markets are a better measure of the benefits of majoring in economics than simply looking at national averages.