Ability, Interest, and Occupational Outcomes

Open Access
Ghai, Surabhi
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Kala Krishna , Thesis Supervisor
  • Russell Chuderewicz, Honors Advisor
  • Education
  • economics
  • college attainment
  • occupational outcomes
  • student ability
  • students
  • college
  • occupation
  • jobs
Abilities, interests, and socioeconomic status are all important factors in determining the occupation a student is likely to pursue. In this paper, we intend to study which factor—ability or interest—is a greater determinant of occupational choice and whether either affects future wages or job satisfaction. Using the Project TALENT dataset, a longitudinal study consisting of approximately 400,000 high school students initially tested in 1960, we find that interest plays a greater role than ability in predicting a student’s occupation. However, we did not find significant effects of ability or interest affecting individuals’ wages or job satisfaction levels.