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A Simple Nudge Increases Socioeconomic Diversity in Undergraduate Economics

We assess whether a light-touch intervention can increase socioeconomic and racial diversity in undergraduate Economics. We randomly assigned over 2,200 students a message with basic information about the Economics major; the basic message combined with an emphasis on the rewarding careers or financial returns associated with the major; or no message. Messages increased the proportion of first generation or underrepresented minority (URM) students majoring in Economics by five percentage points. This effect size was sufficient to reverse the gap in Economics majors between first generation/URM students and students not in these groups. Effect sizes were larger and more precise for better-performing students and first generation students. Extrapolating to the full sample, the treatment would double the proportion of first generation and underrepresented minority students majoring in Economics.

Keywords
college major choice; diversity in Economics; higher education; nudges; randomized control trial
Education level
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
10.26300/r7yn-km39

EdWorkingPaper suggested citation:

Pugatch, Todd, and Elizabeth Schroeder. (). A Simple Nudge Increases Socioeconomic Diversity in Undergraduate Economics. (EdWorkingPaper: 21-485). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University: https://doi.org/10.26300/r7yn-km39

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