Majoring in Economics and Making Money

From Jonah Sinick at Cognito Mentoring: Here is a chart of median earnings (in thousands) for liberal arts majors when starting out (second column) and during their mid-careers (third column).

The post looks specifically at the earnings of economics majors with some interesting insights:

Acquisition of desire to make money

Something that economics majors learn to a greater degree that those who major in other subjects is that income is a proxy to social value generated. Thus, majoring in economics will shift those who want to contribute social value from lower paying careers to higher paying careers.

It’s also been suggested that studying economics increases people’s selfishness on account economic models assuming self-interested agents (see e.g. Economics makes you selfish and Are economists selfish? A lit review). To the extent that this is true, those who would otherwise have chosen work based on the social value generated rather than income may give higher weight to income than to social value contributed when selecting a career. Here too, majoring in economics would shift people from lower paying careers to higher paying careers. The research on studying economics increasing selfishness has been criticized as nonrobust, and may not prove what it’s been purported to — I just raise it as one possibility of many.

I know that quite a few of our readers majored in economics! Did studying economics make you more selfish/increase your desire to earn more?

Photo: Texas A&M

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