How do college students form expectations?

Basit Zafar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


This study focuses on how college students form expectations about various major-specific outcomes. For this purpose, I collect a panel data set of Northwestern University undergraduates that contains their subjective expectations about major-specific outcomes. Although students tend to be overconfident about their future academic performance, they revise their expectations in expectedways. The updating process is found to be consistent with a Bayesian learning model. I show that learning plays a role in the decision to switch majors and that major switchers respond to information from their own major. I also present evidence that learning is general and not entirely major specific.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-348
Number of pages48
JournalJournal of Labor Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Economics and Econometrics


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