Search Results

Author: Speer, Jamin D.
Resulting in 8 citations.
1. Astorne-Figari, Carmen
Speer, Jamin D.
Are Changes of Major Major Changes? The Roles of Grades, Gender, and Preferences in College Major Switching
Economics of Education Review 70 (June 2019): 75-93.
Also: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272775718304680
Cohort(s): NLSY97
Publisher: Elsevier
Keyword(s): College Major/Field of Study/Courses; Gender Differences; Grade Point Average (GPA)/Grades; STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics)

The choice of college major is a key stage in the career search, and over a third of college students switch majors at least once. We provide the first comprehensive analysis of major switching, looking at the patterns of switching in both academic and non-academic dimensions. Low grades signal academic mismatch and predict switching majors - and the lower the grades, the larger the switch in terms of course content. Surprisingly, these switches do not improve students' grades. When students switch majors, they switch to majors that "look like them": females to female-heavy majors, and so on. Lower-ability women flee competitive majors at high rates, while men and higher-ability women are undeterred. Women are far more likely to leave STEM fields for majors that are less competitive -- but still somewhat science-intensive -- suggesting that leaving STEM may be more about fleeing the "culture" of STEM majors than fleeing science and math.
Bibliography Citation
Astorne-Figari, Carmen and Jamin D. Speer. "Are Changes of Major Major Changes? The Roles of Grades, Gender, and Preferences in College Major Switching." Economics of Education Review 70 (June 2019): 75-93.
2. Astorne-Figari, Carmen
Speer, Jamin D.
Drop Out, Switch Majors, or Persist? The Contrasting Gender Gaps
Economics Letters 164 (March 2018): 82-85.
Also: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165176518300107
Cohort(s): NLSY97
Publisher: Elsevier
Keyword(s): College Dropouts; College Enrollment; College Graduates; College Major/Field of Study/Courses; Gender Differences; STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics)

Men and women respond differently to early-college struggles. Men are more likely than women to drop out of college, while women are more likely to switch majors. These effects offset so that there is no gender gap in the probability of graduating in one's initial major choice. For students who begin in STEM majors, however, women are far less likely to graduate in the field, driven by the fact that they are twice as likely to switch majors. We find no evidence that women are more sensitive to poor academic performance in the switching or dropout decisions.
Bibliography Citation
Astorne-Figari, Carmen and Jamin D. Speer. "Drop Out, Switch Majors, or Persist? The Contrasting Gender Gaps." Economics Letters 164 (March 2018): 82-85.
3. Speer, Jamin D.
Essays on Occupational Choice, College Major, and Career Outcomes
Ph.D. Dissertation, Yale University, 2014
Cohort(s): NLSY79, NLSY97
Publisher: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT)
Keyword(s): Armed Forces Qualifications Test (AFQT); Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB); Career Patterns; High School; High School Completion/Graduates; High School Dropouts; Job Characteristics; Occupational Information Network (O*NET); Occupations; Skills; Transition, School to Work; Wages

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

The first chapter uses data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth's 1979 and 1997 cohorts, which are nationally representative panel surveys following workers from their teenage years well into their careers. The key advantage of the NLSYs for my purposes is that they also include a variety of cognitive and noncognitive pre-market skill measures, which I can then link to career outcomes. I combine these data with O*Net, which contains data on the task requirements of each occupation. I find that pre-market skills are strong predictors of the corresponding task content of the workers' occupations, both initially and much later in their careers. Career trajectories are similar across worker skill types, implying that initial differences in occupation persist over the course of a career.

The third chapter uses the weekly work history data from the NLSY's 1979 cohort to analyze the effect of leaving high school during a recession. These data allow me to precisely measure labor market outcomes and the school-to-work transition. I document severe but short-lived effects of leaving school in a recession on wages, job quality, and the transition time from school to work for men with 9 to 12 years of education. In contrast to published evidence on more educated workers, I find large effects on work hours on both the extensive and intensive margins. When workers leave high school in a recession, they work fewer total weeks and more part-time weeks in their first year in the labor market. They also take substantially longer to find a job, have less access to on-the-job training, and report lower promotion possibilities. Effects of the entry unemployment rate on wages are also large. A 4-point rise in the initial unemployment rate leads to a 21% decline in year-one average wage, a 32% fall in hours worked in the first year, and a 54% decline in first-year earnings. However, the effects of economic conditions are not persistent; by year four, there is no effect on wages, hours, or earnings.

Bibliography Citation
Speer, Jamin D. Essays on Occupational Choice, College Major, and Career Outcomes. Ph.D. Dissertation, Yale University, 2014.
4. Speer, Jamin D.
How Bad is Occupational Coding Error? A Task-based Approach
Economics Letters 141 (April 2016): 166-168.
Also: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165176516300544
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: Elsevier
Keyword(s): Mobility, Occupational; Occupational Choice; Occupational Information Network (O*NET); Research Methodology

Studies of occupational choice and mobility are often plagued by rampant occupational coding error. Use of task-based occupation measures, such as O*Net, may mitigate the bias caused by coding error if the occupation is misclassified as an occupation similar to the true occupation. Measuring occupational changes in "task space," I find that task-based measures reduce the problems of coding error, but only slightly. If one does not correct for coding error, one overestimates traditional occupational mobility rates by about 90%; using task-based measures, the overestimate of mobility is still 75%. I also show that when tasks are used as regressors and coding error is not corrected, estimates will be attenuated by 15-20%. Task-based measures are a slight improvement over census occupation codes but are no panacea for dealing with coding error.
Bibliography Citation
Speer, Jamin D. "How Bad is Occupational Coding Error? A Task-based Approach." Economics Letters 141 (April 2016): 166-168.
5. Speer, Jamin D.
Pre-Market Skills, Occupational Choice, and Career Progression
Journal of Human Resources 52,1 (Winter 2017): 187-246.
Also: http://jhr.uwpress.org/content/52/1/187
Cohort(s): NLSY79, NLSY97
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Keyword(s): Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB); Career Patterns; Gender Differences; Layoffs; Occupational Choice; Occupational Information Network (O*NET); Skills

This paper develops a new empirical framework for analyzing occupational choice and career progression. I merge the NLSYs with O*Net and find that pre-market skills (primarily ASVAB test scores) predict the task content of the workers' occupations. These measures account for 71 percent of the gender gap in science and engineering occupations. Career trajectories are similar across workers, so that initial differences in occupation persist over time. I then quantify the effect of layoffs on career trajectory and find that a layoff erases one-fourth of a worker's total career increase in task content but this effect only lasts two years.
Bibliography Citation
Speer, Jamin D. "Pre-Market Skills, Occupational Choice, and Career Progression." Journal of Human Resources 52,1 (Winter 2017): 187-246.
6. Speer, Jamin D.
The Gender Gap in College Major: Revisiting the Role of Pre-College Factors
Presented: Seattle WA, Annual Meetings of the Society of Labor Economists (SOLE), May 2016
Cohort(s): NLSY79, NLSY97
Publisher: Society of Labor Economists (SOLE)
Keyword(s): Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB); Cognitive Ability; College Major/Field of Study/Courses; Gender Differences

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

Using a broader array of pre-college test scores (the ASVAB), I show that differences in college preparation can actually account for a large portion of most gender gaps in college major content, including two-thirds of the gap in science, half of the gap in humanities, and almost half of the gap in engineering. By contrast, business and education retain large gender gaps even when controlling for abilities. A smaller portion (at most 22%) of women's higher likelihood of switching out of a science or engineering major is explained by the ASVAB scores, suggesting that most ability sorting into majors occurs at the beginning of college. I show that gender gaps in test scores, particularly in science and mechanical fields, exist by the mid-teenage years and typically grow with age. While there are gender differences in middle and high school course-taking, they do not explain the increasing gender gaps in test scores.
Bibliography Citation
Speer, Jamin D. "The Gender Gap in College Major: Revisiting the Role of Pre-College Factors." Presented: Seattle WA, Annual Meetings of the Society of Labor Economists (SOLE), May 2016.
7. Speer, Jamin D.
The Gender Gap in College Major: Revisiting the Role of Pre-college Factors
Labour Economics 44 (January 2017): 69-88.
Also: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0927537116304110
Cohort(s): NLSY79, NLSY97
Publisher: Elsevier
Keyword(s): Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB); College Major/Field of Study/Courses; Gender Differences; Noncognitive Skills; Test Scores/Test theory/IRT

This paper considers the importance of pre-college test scores in accounting for gender gaps in college major. Large gaps in major content exist: men are more likely to study math-, science-, and business-intensive fields, while women are more likely to study humanities-, social science-, and education-intensive fields. Previous research has found that gender differences in college preparation, typically measured by SAT scores, can account for only a small portion of these differences. Using a broader array of pre-college test scores (the ASVAB), I show that differences in college preparation can actually account for a large portion of most gender gaps in college major content, including 62% of the gap in science, 66% of the gap in humanities, and 47% of the gap in engineering. SAT scores explain less than half as much as the ASVAB scores, while noncognitive skill measures appear to explain none of the gaps in major. The gender gaps in test scores, particularly in science and mechanical fields, exist by the mid-teenage years and grow with age.
Bibliography Citation
Speer, Jamin D. "The Gender Gap in College Major: Revisiting the Role of Pre-college Factors." Labour Economics 44 (January 2017): 69-88.
8. Speer, Jamin D.
Wages, Hours, and the School-to-Work Transition: The Consequences of Leaving School in a Recession for Less-Educated Men
B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy 16,1 (January 2016): 97-124.
Also: https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/bejeap.2016.16.issue-1/bejeap-2015-0054/bejeap-2015-0054.xml
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG
Keyword(s): Economic Changes/Recession; Educational Attainment; Labor Market Outcomes; Transition, School to Work; Wages; Work Hours

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

Using the NLSY's weekly work history data to precisely measure labor market outcomes and the school-to-work transition, I document severe but short-lived effects of leaving school in a recession for men with 9-12 years of education. I find significant effects of entry labor market conditions on wages, job quality, and the transition time from school to work. In contrast to published evidence on more educated workers, I also find large effects on work hours on both the extensive and the intensive margins. When workers leave high school in a recession, they take substantially longer to find a job, earn lower wages, and work fewer full-time weeks and more part-time weeks. A 4-point rise in the initial unemployment rate leads to an increase in the school-to-work transition time of 9 weeks, a 16% decline in year-one average wage, a 28% fall in hours worked in the first year, and a 45% decline in first-year earnings. However, effects of entry conditions are not persistent and are largely gone after the first year.
Bibliography Citation
Speer, Jamin D. "Wages, Hours, and the School-to-Work Transition: The Consequences of Leaving School in a Recession for Less-Educated Men." B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy 16,1 (January 2016): 97-124.