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Economic Conditions' Effect on College Majors - 7/30/15

There has been plenty of research conducted regarding the economic futures of young people who graduate into a recession.  That research indicates that those graduates tend to perform less well economically than those who graduate during better economic times and that this state of affairs can last well into the future. 

But recent research indicates that those unlucky enough to attend college during bad economic times don’t simply sit back and bemoan their misfortunes.  According to new research from three analysts, Benjamin Keys, Brian Cadena and Erica Blom, when the nation’s unemployment rate rises by one percentage point, the share of women studying business rises by nearly two-thirds of a percentage point.  The share of women studying nursing climbs by nearly a third of a percentage point. 

An additional quarter percentage point shift into accounting.  As reported in the Wall Street Journal, at the same time, enrollment in literature, sociology and psychology declines.  According to the research, a rise of just one percentage point in the national unemployment rate leads at least two percent of women to switch majors.  Men switch, too, but are more likely to study engineering and economics.

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants. Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes. Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.