Value of a Law Degree by College Major

23 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2016 Last revised: 9 Mar 2017

See all articles by Frank McIntyre

Frank McIntyre

Amazon.com

Michael Simkovic

USC Gould School of Law; University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business

Date Written: March 5, 2016

Abstract

We estimate the increase in earnings from a law degree relative to a bachelor’s degree for graduates who majored in different fields in college. Students with humanities and social sciences majors comprise approximately 47 percent of law degree holders compared to 23 percent of terminal bachelor’s. Law degree earnings premiums are highest for humanities and social sciences majors and lowest for STEM majors. On the other hand, among those with law degrees, overall earnings are highest for STEM and Business Majors. This effect is fairly small at the low end of the earnings distribution, but quite large at the top end. The median annual law degree earnings premium ranges from approximately $29,000 for STEM majors to $45,000 for humanities majors.

Keywords: labor economics, earnings premium, law school, lawyers, legal profession, college major, field of study, education, economic value of a law degree, SIPP, ACS, Census, American Community Survey, Survey of Income and Program Participation

JEL Classification: I21, I22, J17, J2, J21, J22, J23, J24, J31, J44, J62, J63, L84, C12, C13, C14, C15, C32, C33, C53

Suggested Citation

McIntyre, Frank and Simkovic, Michael, Value of a Law Degree by College Major (March 5, 2016). AccessLex Institute Research Paper No. 16-03; Seton Hall Public Law Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2742674 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2742674

Frank McIntyre

Amazon.com ( email )

Seattle, WA 98144
United States

Michael Simkovic (Contact Author)

USC Gould School of Law ( email )

699 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business ( email )

701 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

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