Discussion paper

DP18712 Education expansion, college choice and labour market success

We study the choice of acquiring STEM and non-STEM college education using variation induced by the proximity to universities offering different types of programs. We adopt a novel methodology allowing the identification of the distribution of response types and treatment effects in a multiple unordered discrete choice setting (Heckman and Pinto, 2018). The empirical analysis is based on confidential survey data for Italy, combined with administrative information about the founding dates of all Italian universities and faculties. We find that most compliers are women at the margin of choosing STEM education versus not going to college. We simulate the effects of expanding the supply of STEM education and discover that, in addition to substantial effects on employment, the gender disparity in STEM education could potentially decrease by up to 20%.


Braccioli, F, P Ghinetti, S Moriconi, C Naguib and M Pellizzari (2023), ‘DP18712 Education expansion, college choice and labour market success‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 18712. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp18712