DOI: 10.1111/ecin.13172 ISSN:

A simple nudge increases socioeconomic diversity in undergraduate Economics

Todd Pugatch, Elizabeth Schroeder
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


We assess whether a light‐touch intervention can increase socioeconomic and racial diversity in undergraduate Economics. We randomly assigned over 2200 students a message with basic information about the Economics major; the basic message combined with an emphasis on the rewarding careers or financial returns associated with the major; or no message. Messages increased the proportion of first generation students majoring in Economics by five percentage points. This effect size was sufficient to reverse the gap in Economics majors for first generation students. Suggestive evidence indicates the effects may be driven by first generation students who were not also underrepresented minorities.

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