“The big picture. Over their lifetimes, graduates with majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) can expect to earn far more than high school graduates with no college attendance, with an earnings premium of $1.5 million over and above the $1.73 million that high school graduates with no college attendance can expect to earn. Business majors do slightly worse than STEM majors, with a lifetime earnings premium of $1.4 million. Social scientists stake out the middle ground, earning $1.05 million more than noncollege high school graduates over a lifetime. Arts and humanities majors can expect to earn about $700,000 more, on average, than high school graduates with no college attendance.”
If they get a job after a liberal arts major. Big IF.
“The worst STEM majors earn more than the best high school graduates. Those in the bottom quintile of ability who go on to major in STEM have lifetime earnings of about $2.3 million, compared to $2 million for high school graduates in the top quintile of ability; business majors do slightly worse than STEM majors. The worst social science majors earn about the same as the best high school graduates, and the worst arts and humanities majors earn less.”
Selection bias is real, but the earnings advantage persists.
trans. Idiots choose easy courses.
The ability premium (also known as the selection-bias correction) has declined over time.
because they let in anyone nowadays.