Pick the wrong degree and even wedding bells are less likely

You’ve got to choose carefully what you study at university because the subject determines what you go on to earn. Men taking creative arts degrees on average earn less than if they hadn’t done the course, while those studying economics see an average lifetime benefit of £500,000.

But the choice of course affects much more important things, like whether you get married and who to. A paper examining the experiences of German graduates investigated the impact of studying courses that are more popular with your own sex. It also disproves worries that economists have no romantic side with sentences such as: “Imbalanced sex ratios typically favor the scarcer gender because of reduced partner search costs and increased bargaining power.”

You might think that being on a course with lots of your own sex would reduce the chance of getting married for everyone, but that’s only true for women (who make up almost six in 10 university students). When there is a higher share of men in a field those men are more likely to get married. And such men are more likely to marry people with lower level qualifications than themselves, often finding a partner via work.

The author’s conclusion? Social norms of who is the prime earner seem to mean graduate women are much more reliant on the university marriage market. And there was I thinking people chose a university for the nightclubs.

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