Are Law Degrees As Valuable to Minorities?

56 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2017 Last revised: 26 Sep 2017

See all articles by Frank McIntyre

Frank McIntyre

Michael Simkovic

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

Date Written: September 26, 2017


We estimate the increase in earnings from a law degree relative to a bachelor’s degree for graduates of different race/ethnic groups. Law earnings premiums are higher for whites than for minorities (excluding individuals raised outside the U.S.). The median annual law earnings premium is approximately $41,000 for whites, $34,000 for Asians, $33,000 for blacks, and $28,000 for Hispanics. Law earnings premiums for whites, blacks and Hispanics have trended upward and appear to be gradually converging. Approximately 90 percent of law graduates are white compared to approximately 82 percent of bachelor’s degree holders.

Keywords: labor economics, earnings premium, law school, lawyers, legal profession, race, minorities, earnings gap, discrimination, inequality, productivity, law firm, 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, Are Law Degrees As Valuable to Minorities? (September 26, 2017). International Review of Law and Economics, Forthcoming; AccessLex Institute Research Paper No. 17-07; USC Law Legal Studies Paper No. 17-22; USC CLASS Research Paper No. 17-23. Available at SSRN:

Frank McIntyre ( 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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