When students choose a certain field of study in college, some opportunities are instantly forgone. Since different types of educations have varying degrees of forgone opportunities, risk is associated with educational choices. The extent to which these educational choices impose a risk on the individual is studied here. It is hypothesized that more technically oriented and job-specific type educations will have a higher risk than less restrictive liberal arts type educations. Using a large sample drawn from the National Longitudinal Survey of Labor Market Experience of Youth, this paper examines the presence and nature of risk across the different areas of study. Initial analysis reveals that compared to other areas of study, engineers and scientists have a high average income and a high variance in those incomes. Using standard linear regression analysis to control for background variables, it is found that in general, this variance is significant and positively correlated to the higher paying, more technical fields.
Scholz '96, Dan, "Risk and College Majors" (1995). Honors Projects. 113.