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Trends in Undergraduate Economics Degrees, 1991 to 2002 Author(s): John J. Siegfried Source: The Journal of Economic Education, Vol.

34, No. 3 (Summer, 2003), pp. 291-294 Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30042551 . Accessed: 06/10/2013 06:56
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Trends

in

Economics Undergraduate
1991
to

Degrees,

2002

John J. Siegfried
economics degrees Key word: undergraduate JEL code: A2 economics degrees Following a one-year lull, the recovery in undergraduate from the precipitousdecline in the early 1990s regained substantialmomentum in 2001-02. After six consecutive years of growth, all but 7 of the 30 percentage points lost from 1992 to 1996 now have been recovered. The big news for 2001-02, however, is that large flagship public universities finally have joined the recovery.Indeed, they are now leading it. Undergraduate degrees awardedfor the last 12 academic years by 207 U.S. colleges and universitiesare reportedin Table 1, subdividedby institutionalcontrol, highest degree offered in economics, and selectivity. The number in this table is 59 percent of the undergraduateeconomics degrees reported for 1999-2000 by the Departmentof Education'sNationalCenterfor EducationStatistics, the most recent year available. Depending on how double and triple majorsare counted(Siegfried2002), this sampleprobablyaccountsfor anywhere from 43 to 59 percent of the nation's undergraduate economics degrees. The sample is "opportunistic" ratherthan random,in that it consists of institutions willing and able to reporttheir earneddegrees. Fortunately, the sample is large, and the time series reportsdegrees awardedfor the identical set of institutions over the entire period. Last year's report(Siegfried 2002) was based on a sample of 148. Nineteen of those 148 institutionsfailed to reportthis year. Fortunately,on the basis of a concerted effort and the cooperationof many department chairs and administrative assistants,I have been able to add 78 new institutions to the databasethis year. Annual rates of change in the numberof earnedbachelors degrees are reported in Table 2. Although all of the 2001-02 deficit in annual degrees vis-h-vis 1990-91 remains at public universities, each category of public institutions made a substantialgain last year. If 2002-03 mimics 2001-02, the entire deficit from the early 1990s will be eliminated, and 2002-03 will be a recordpost-1990 year for undergraduatedegrees in economics. Private universities awarding Ph.D.s in economics and selective privateliberal arts colleges continue to report the most growth in undergraduate economics degrees since 1990-91. Econom-

John J. Siegfried is a professor of economics at VanderbiltUniversity(e-mail: vanderbilt.edu). john.siegfried@ 2003 Summer 291

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02 200101 200000 199999 199898 1997Universities 97 1996and 96 1995Colleges by 95 1994Awarded 94 199393 1992Economics in

for (36.9) (32.9) (24.9) (36.4)(36.3)(36.4) (30.4)(31.5) (30.0) 839 390 959 5108 2482 2236 7272 5474 12380 (37.2) (33.5) (24.8) (37.9)(35.8)(40.4) (30.6) (30.1)(31.0) 376 749 798 4771 2299 2096 6246 4699 11017 (34.0) (31.8) (29.2) (24.7) (34.8)(33.4)(36.5) (29.4)(30.3) 350 918 6146 4525 703 4776 2296 2130 10922 (40.0) (32.3) (27.1) (35.9)(34.0)(37.4) (29.3)(30.0) (27.3) 290 597 764 5603 4242 4664 2271 2103 10267 (33.5) (30.6) (26.6) (33.7)(31.2)(36.4) (28.2)(28.6) (27.1) 358 679 797 9929 5595 4119 4334 2043 1933 (32.7) (30.0) (29.3) (19.9) (33.2)(29.5)(37.3) (27.6)(28.7) 346 686 728 9484 5296 3882 4188 2021 1821 (33.5) (29.1) (22.1) (33.5)(29.8)(37.3) (25.8)(26.7) (24.8) 814 367 655 9275 5275 3806 4000 1842 1791 (20.4) (33.8)(31.8)(35.8) (34.5) (28.8) (24.9) (25.4)(26.3) 680 3889 1764 1702 423 9603 5714 4130 904 (32.2) (28.6) (23.1) (34.8)(33.4)(36.8) (24.7)(25.1) (24.2) 840 447 6531 4661 1030 4175 1936 1792 10706 economics Questionnaire highest the Academic indicates Universal M.A. and Association Ph.D. women. Economic by colleges." survey institution. a the by by offered supplemented degree

(31.2) (29.4) arts (24.0) (25.9) (33.8)(31.7)(36.8) (26.8)(27.5) earned 898 American 7525 5457 1170 4404 2043 1909 452 11929 the liberal degrees 92 (33.5) (28.8) and of (25.6) (32.8)(29.5)(36.0) (26.5)(27.7) (22.5) 624 1991- 8474 5982 1516 976 4824 2173 2027 13298 Degrees 1999 "national 91 (24.2) (33.9)(30.7)(38.3) (30.7) (29.4) tier (26.6)(27.0)(26.5) 986 602 1990- 8201 5847 1368 4995 2295 2098 13196 2nd percentages through are or 36 n 100 22 47 31 107 47 24 207 1991 1st Baccalaureate for of arts' Reportparentheses survey in liberal World & bachelors institutions Author's institutions Numbers sample Other Ph.D.M.A. Bachelors Ph.D.Selective 1U.S.News Private 2000-2002. TABLE Institution Public Total Source: Notes: Number 1.

200

JOURNAL OFECONOMIC EDUCATION

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7.18.06.73.7 12.4 to 16.4 16.5 12.0 20.2 2000-01 2001-02 1.63.86.5 0.1 7.4 0.9 to -0.1 -1.6 -13.1 1999-00 2000-01 2.41.11.3 9.76.717.8 6.4 to 20.2 20.7 1998-99 1999-00 8.8 0.13.0 7.611.2 3.4 to -4.1 -12.1 -19.0 1997-98 1998-99 to 5.66.1 9.5 3.51.16.23.5 4.7 -1.0 1997-98 1996-97 0.42.0 11.1 4.79.71.7 2.3 to -5.7 -15.7 1995-96 1996-97 Awarded 2.94.45.2 to -7.7 -7.8 -3.7 -3.4 -10.0 -13.2 1994-95 1995-96 Degrees to -6.9 -5.0 -5.4 -11.4 -12.2 -19.0 -8.9 -12.5 -10.3 1993-94 1994-95 institution. the by

Baccalaureate to -6.5 -5.2 -5.2 -6.1 -1.1 offered -13.2 -14.6 -12.0 -10.3 colleges." 1992-93 1993-94 arts to -8.7 -8.8 -8.0 -6.0 -5.8 economics Economics -11.2 -22.8 -27.6 -10.3 liberal 1991-92 1992-93 in of 3.32.310.8 3.7 0.8 to -1.0 -3.4 -5.3 -3.4 1990-91 1991-92 Number in 2.38.16.6 to -6.4 -2.7 -6.2 -11.3 -38.7 -35.2 1990-91 2001-02 Change arts' degree "national tier highest 2nd or the 1st

indicates Report M.A. 1. World liberal Percentage and & 2. bachelors Table institutions institutions sample Ph.D. Selective Ph.D. M.A. Bachelors Ph.D. Other Institution Public Private Total 'U.S.News TABLE Source: Note:

Summer

2003

293

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ics appearsto be growing in popularityat those institutionswhere undergraduate admission is most selective. The percentageof undergraduate degrees in economics awardedto women is reportedin parenthesesin Table 1. It continuesto hover around30 percentat public universitiesand 36 percentat privatecolleges and universities(which include several all-women's colleges). Women continue to be least well-represented economics degree at regional state uniamong those earning an undergraduate versities that do not offer any advanceddegrees in economics.
REFERENCE
economics degrees, 1991 to 2001. Journal ofEconomSiegfried, J. J. 2002. Trendsin undergraduate ic Education 33 (Summer):291-94.

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JOURNALOF ECONOMICEDUCATION

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