Reciprocal Influences of Education on Values Concerning Family, Careers and Society

Miles Kimball, University of Michigan
Colter Mitchell, University of Michigan
Linda Young-DeMarco, University of Michigan

This paper examines the influence of college attendance and major on attitudes toward family, careers, and society. We also consider the possibility that attitudes and values influence college attendance and the choice of major. We analyze these issues using panel data across the young adult years. The analyses suggest that students majoring in the humanities and social sciences place less emphasis than others on marriage, children, and living close to parents, and also place more emphasis than others on correcting social inequalities, finding purpose in life, and making a contribution to society. At the same time, we found that placing strong emphasis on family matters does not appear to have any causal influence on staying in the humanities and social sciences. However, students who place strong importance on family matters and who switch majors are less likely to go into the humanities and social sciences.

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Presented in Session 147: Causal Effects of Schooling on Demographic and Health Outcomes