Economics Major Career Information

Earnings of Economics Majors in Perspective

Your undergraduate major has a huge influence on your career. Our faculty member Douglas Webber has recently published research on the earnings of about 80 different college majors. The following two links present in PDF form estimates of the median, 25th percentile, and 75th percentile earnings of people who have earned these majors. One table presents these statistics for people who receive a Bachelor’s degree but do not ever get a graduate degree of any type, and the other table includes everyone. At the bottom of each of these tables there is a short description of the method and the sample behind the table as well as a link to the paper by Dr. Webber. Expected lifetime earnings (Only Bachelors)  Expected lifetime earnings (All)

Also, data from the 2010 U.S. Census tells us that Economics majors have some of the best compensated careers. The table below shows a comparison of compensation data for a few selected majors, to put this claim in perspective. The data comes from the digital edition of the Wall Street Journal, November 14, 2011, and it is based on the report What’s it Worth by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

Major fieldUnemployment1st 25% earningsMedian earningsTop 75% earnings

Computer science 5.6% $50,000 $77,000 $102,000
ECONOMICS 6.3% $42,000 $69,000 $108,000
Finance 4.5% $44,000 $65,000 $101,000
Mathematics 5.0% $42,000 $63,000 $95,000
Accounting 5.4% $41,000 $61,000 $94,000
Marketing 5.9% $40,000 $59,000 $90,000
Political Science 6.0% $38,000 $57,000 $91,000
International Business 8.5% $38,000 $52,000 $87,000

A complementary view on the career prospects of economics majors is seen in data from an article on US News by Kelsey Sheehy, September 12, 2012. Sheehy reports the following numbers, according to salary data from PayScale:

Field Starting pay and  Median mid-career pay

Government:  $41,400-  $87,300
Political Science:  $39,900- $80,100
International Relations: $40,500- $79,400
Advertising: $37,700- $74,700

Physics $49,800 $101,000
ECONOMICS 47,300 $94,700
Statistics $49,000 $93,800