Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Economics Is Gold

Josh Wright (J.D. PhD. Econ.) on Truth on the Market adds to the debate on the value of interdisciplinarity in legal education the observation that economics education boosts lawyers' earning power relative to that of lawyers without it. Quoting from study titled Do Economists Make Better Lawyers? by R. Kim Craft and Joe G. Baker (2003) in the Journal of Economic Education:

Using nationally representative data, the authors examine the effects of preprofessional education on the earnings of lawyers. . . . Holding a Ph.D. or M.B.A. degree, with the law degree, is associated with significantly higher earnings in some sectors. Lawyers with undergraduate training in economics earn more than other lawyers, ceteris paribus, and economics is the only undergraduate field associated with earnings that differ significantly. The available evidence supports the hypothesis that economics training increases a lawyer’s human capital compared with other undergraduate majors.

For law students with degrees in economics, your investment may pay off in your legal career in a way you did not expect. For law students who will learn economic theory as part of an "interdisciplinary" legal education, cheer up. Basic understanding of economic theory adds value to your law degree and, so it seems, to your balance sheet as well. Economics is not a dismal science after all.

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