Do Economists Make Better Lawyers?

Cite this Article
Joshua D. Wright, Do Economists Make Better Lawyers?, Truth on the Market (May 31, 2006),

Yes. So says R. Kim Craft and Joe G. Baker in a recent paper in the Journal of Economic Education entitled “Do Economists Make Better Lawyers? Undergraduate Degree Field and Lawyer Earnings.” Here is the abstract:

Using nationally representative data, the authors examine the effects of preprofessional education on the earnings of lawyers. They specify and estimate a statistical earnings function on the basis of well-established theory and principles. Along with standard control variables, categorical variables are included to represent graduate degrees in addition to the law degree and an assortment of undergraduate major fields. 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.

(HT: Tom Ulen at Law and Econ Prof Blog)