De Economist

, Volume 145, Issue 2, pp 159–177 | Cite as

Is There a Hidden Technical Potential?

  • Hessel Oosterbeek
  • Dinand Webbink

Abstract

This paper analyzes the determinants of choosing a technical study at university level and of staying in it. We find that – in The Netherlands – there is little correlation between the probability of a student choosing a technical study and the probability of completing it. This implies that a substantial number of technically talented people choose non-technical studies. Especially female students and students from high income families are unlikely to attent a technical study but these students are relatively successful in such studies. A large part of these technically talented students are attracted to medical studies and law schools, where they are no more likely to persist than other medical and law students. This finding is predicted by the tournament model in which rewards are based on relative performance instead of absolute performance.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Becker, G.S. (1967), Human Capital and the Personal Distribution of Income, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  2. Berger, M.C. (1988), 'Predicted Future Earnings and Choice of College Major,' Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 41, pp. 418–429.Google Scholar
  3. Bourdieu, P. (1984), Homo Academicus, Paris, Editions de Minuit.Google Scholar
  4. Frank, R.H. and P.J. Cook (1996), The Winner-Take-All-Society; Why the Few at the Top Get So Much More than the Rest of Us, New York, Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  5. Freeman, R.B. (1975), 'Legal Cobwebs: A Recursive Model of the Market for New Lawyers,' Review of Economics and Statistics, 57, pp. 171–179.Google Scholar
  6. Garen, J. (1984), 'The Returns to Schooling: A Selectivity Bias Approach with a Continuous Choice Variable,' Econometrica, 52, pp. 1199–1218.Google Scholar
  7. Greene, W. (1990), Econometric Analysis, 2nd edition, New York, Macmillan.Google Scholar
  8. Harmon, C. and I. Walker (1995), 'Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling for the UK,' American Economic Review, 85, pp. 1278–1286.Google Scholar
  9. Hartog, J., G.A. Pfann, and G. Ridder (1989), '(Non-)Graduation and the Earnings Function: An Inquiry on Self-Selection,' European Economic Review, 33, pp. 1373–1395.Google Scholar
  10. Jong, U. de, H. Oosterbeek, J. Roeleveld, and H.D. Webbink (1992), Voornemens van eindexamenkandidaten 1991, Serie: Verder studeren, een panelstudie onder scholieren en studenten, deel 1, Den Haag, Ministerie van Onderwijs en Wetenschappen.Google Scholar
  11. Kenny, L., L.-F. Lee, G.S. Maddala, and R. Trost (1979), 'Returns to College Education: An Investigation of Self-selection Bias Based on the Project Talent Data,' International Economic Review, 20, pp. 775–789.Google Scholar
  12. Kodde, D.A. (1985) Microeconomic Analysis of Demand for Education, Ph.D. thesis, Erasmus University Rotterdam.Google Scholar
  13. Lazear, E.P. and S. Rosen ~1981!, ‘Rank-order Tournaments as Optimal Labor Contracts,’ Journal ofPolitical Economy, 89, pp. 841–864.Google Scholar
  14. Trost, R. and L.-F. Lee (1984), 'Technical Training and Earnings: A Polychotomous Choice Model with Selectivity,' Review of Economics and Statistics, 66, pp. 151–156.Google Scholar
  15. Manski, C.F. and S.R. Lerman (1977), 'The Estimation of Choice Probabilities from Choice Based Samples,' Econometrica, 45, pp. 1977–1988.Google Scholar
  16. Mincer, J. (1974), Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  17. Murphy, K., A. Shleifer, and R. Vishny (1991), 'The Allocation of Talent: Implications for Growth,' Quarterly Journal of Economics, 98, pp. 503–530.Google Scholar
  18. NCBS (1992), Het onderwijs vanaf 1950, Den Haag, SDU.Google Scholar
  19. OECD (1995), Education at a Glance, Paris, OECD.Google Scholar
  20. Oosterbeek, H., W. Groot and J. Hartog (1992), 'An Empirical Analysis of University Choice and Earnings,' De Economist, 140, pp. 293–309.Google Scholar
  21. Oosterbeek, H. and H.D. Webbink (1995), 'Enrolment in Higher Education in The Netherlands,' De Economist, 143, pp. 367–380.Google Scholar
  22. Rosen, S. (1992), 'The Market for Lawyers,' Journal of Law and Economics, 35, pp. 215–246.Google Scholar
  23. Ven, W. van de and B.M.S. van Praag (1981), 'The Demand for Deductibles in Private Health Insurance; A Probit Model with Sample Selection,' Journal of Econometrics, 7, pp. 229–252.Google Scholar
  24. Venti, S.F. and D.A. Wise (1982), 'Test Scores, Educational Opportunities, and Individual Choice,' Journal of Public Economics, 18, pp. 35–63. 176 H. OOSTERBEEK AND D. WEBBINKGoogle Scholar
  25. Venti, S.F. and D.A. Wise (1983), 'Individual Attributes and Self-selection of Higher Education: College Attendance versus College Completion,' Journal of Public Economics, 21, pp. 1–32.Google Scholar
  26. Willis, R.J. and S. Rosen (1979), 'Education and Self-selection,' Journal of Political Economy, 87, S7–S36.Google Scholar
  27. Zabalza, A. (1979), 'The Determinants of Teacher Supply,' Review of Economic Studies, 46, pp. 131–147.Google Scholar
  28. Zarkin, G.A. (1985), 'Occupational Choice: An Application to the Market for Public School Teachers,' Quarterly Journal of Economics, 100, pp. 409–446.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hessel Oosterbeek
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Dinand Webbink
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Max Groote Centre for Vocational Eduction and TrainingThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Tinbergen InstituteThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Foundation for Economic ResearchUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations