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Long-term effect of childhood pandemic experience on medical major choice: Evidence from the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak in China

Chen, Ze; Wang, Yuan; Guan, Yanjun; Guo, Michael Jie; Xu, Rong

Long-term effect of childhood pandemic experience on medical major choice: Evidence from the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak in China Thumbnail


Authors

Ze Chen

Yuan Wang

Rong Xu



Abstract

This study examines the long-term effect of a pandemic on a crucial human capital decision, namely college major choice. Using China’s 2008–2016 major-level National College Entrance Examination (Gaokao) entry grades, we find that the 2003 SARS had a substantial deterrent effect on the choice of majoring in medicine among high school graduates who experienced the pandemic in their childhood. In provinces with larger intensities of SARS impact, medical majors become less popular as the average Gaokao grades of enrolled students decline. Further evidence from a nationally representative survey shows that the intensity of the SARS impact significantly decreases children’s aspirations to pursue medical occupations, but does not affect their parents’ expectations for their children to enter the medical profession. Our discussions on the effect mechanism suggest that the adverse influence of SARS on the popularity of medical majors likely originates from students’ childhood experiences.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 9, 2023
Online Publication Date Feb 20, 2023
Publication Date 2023-05
Deposit Date Jan 24, 2023
Publicly Available Date Feb 21, 2024
Journal Health Economics
Print ISSN 1057-9230
Electronic ISSN 1099-1050
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 32
Issue 5
Pages 1120-1147
DOI https://doi.org/10.1002/hec.4659
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1180949

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Copyright Statement
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Chen, Ze, Wang, Yuan, Guan, Yanjun, Guo, Michael Jie & Xu, Rong (2023). Long-term effect of childhood pandemic experience on medical major choice: Evidence from the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak in China. Health Economics 32(5): 1120-1147., which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/hec.4659. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.






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