10 Jan 2014

Why so few students do maths and science

Ilaria Maselli / Miroslav Beblavy

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Policy-makers often fret about the low number of university graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Proposed solutions often focus on providing better information for students and parents about the employability or average wages of different fields to emphasise that STEM professions pay. This paper argues that, from a personal point of view, students are actually making rational decisions, if all benefits and costs are factored into the equation. The authors conclude, therefore, that public policy needs to change the incentives to induce students to enter these fields and not just provide information about them.

Ilaria Maselli is a Researcher at CEPS and Miroslav Beblavý is an Associate Senior Research Fellow at CEPS and Coordinator of the NEUJOBS project.

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