On the road to social mobility? affirmative action and major choice
Around the world, students from a disadvantaged background are underrepresented in prestigious and lucrative fields of study, such as medicine and STEM. We know little about whether universities can affect individuals' major choice and promote increased social mobility. In this paper, we provide evidence that universities can change individuals' choice of major. We use a natural experiment that expanded the set of majors to which lower SES applicants could be admitted. We find that this change in policy, which was implemented at a very selective university, increased the likelihood of lower SES students to apply for, and get accepted to more prestigious majors.