Tuesday, July 30, 2013
I keep getting emails from people regarding the much-discussed Simkovic/McIntyre paper, so I thought it would be worth reiterating a few basic points: ...
(1) Over the time period covered by the authors’ study, their data indicate that earnings for all law degree holders have remained flat, while the cost of law school has risen sharply. This means that, per their analysis, the value of a law degree has declined significantly in absolute terms during the time period covered by their study, even if one assumes that recent graduates will not suffer any decline in their career earnings relative to older graduates (This latter assumption, again, is simply a methodological axiom the authors adopt, rather than a conclusion supported by any data).
(2) Recent law graduates have in fact suffered a sharp decline in their earnings at the beginning of their careers, relative to the initial career earnings of older law graduates.
(3) Law schools continue to graduate two JD holders for every available legal job.
So law students are paying vastly higher prices to get much-lower paying jobs, assuming they get jobs at all (19% of the class of 2012 did not have reported employment of any kind nine months after graduation, and only slightly more than half the class has a legal job, loosely defined).
In response to these grim facts, Simkovic and McIntyre enhance their data with the methodological magic of synthetic work-life earnings, thereby suggesting strongly that, back in the day, law school was quite a bargain.
But the problem with back in the day is that it was back in the day.
Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:
- What Is the Economic Value of a Law Degree -- $1 Million? (July 17, 2013)
- More on The $1 Million Value of a Law Degree (July 18, 2013)
- NY Times, WaPo, Others Debate The $1 Million Value of a Law Degree (July 18, 2013)
- What Is the Economic Value of a Law Degree -- $1 Million or $100,000? (July 19, 2013)
- More on The $1 Million Value of a Law Degree (July 20, 2013)
- Merritt on The $1 Million Value of a Law Degree (July 21, 2013)
- Diamond on The $1 Million Value of a Law Degree (July 22, 2013)
- Tamanaha: How 'The Million Dollar Law Degree' Study Systematically Overstates Value (July 23, 2013)
- Tamanaha: How the 'Million Dollar Law Degree' Study Understates Risk (Part I) (July 24, 2013)
- Tamanaha: Why the “Million Dollar Law Degree” Study Fails (Final Post) (July 25, 2013)
- Rasmusen: Critics of The Economic Value of a Law Degree Are Making the Paper Better (July 25, 2013)
- Pasquale and Simkovic Respond to Tamanaha (July 25, 2013)
- The American Lawyer: Paper on Law Degree's Economic Value a Non-Sequitur (July 26, 2013)
- Simkovic Responds to Tamanaha (Part 3) (July 26, 2013)
- Tamanaha: Short Term Versus Long Term Perspective (July 27, 2013)
- Harper, Diamond: The $1 Million Value of a Law Degree: Distraction, Astronomy, or Astrology? (July 28, 2013)
- Simkovic Responds to American Lawyer Op-Eds (July 29, 2013)
- Diamond Responds to Tamanaha (July 29, 2013)
- Rasmusen: The Economic Value of a Law Degree and the 'Typical' Law Student (July 29, 2013)
- Simkovic Responds to Tamanaha (Part 4) (July 30, 2013)