Joint M.A./J.D. in Economics

The master of arts and juris doctor program, leading to a degree conferred jointly by the Department of Economics and the Law School, was established at Wayne State University following approval of the program by the University's Board of Governors in 2001. This program was established because of the steadily increasing influence of economic analysis on the law – through its effect on legal scholarship and on judicial decisions.

A course in law and economics is now part of the standard curriculum of the leading law schools. A majority of the federal judiciary has now had a short formal course in law and economics provided at one of these research centers. Almost any recent issue of a major law journal will include several articles employing economic analysis, often including diagrams and a formal mathematical model. The use of econometric analysis is now routine in the top twenty law journals.

There are a number of textbooks, including Economic Analysis of Law by Richard A. Posner (Boston: Little, Brown, 3rd ed. 1986), An Introduction to Law and Economics by A. Mitchell Polinsky, Aspen Law & Business, 2nd ed. 1989), Law and Economics by Robert Cooter and Thomas Ulen (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1997), Foundations of Economic Analysis of Law (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard  University Press, 2003), by Steven Shavell, and Economic Foundations of Law (Mason, Ohio: Southwestern/Thomson Learning, 2004) by Stephen J. Spurr.

There is a large and rapidly growing demand for economic analysis by lawyers and law firms, many of whom now have cases pending before judges known to apply economic analysis to law – Judges Guido Calabresi and Ralph Winter of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Richard Posner and Frank Easterbrook of the Seventh Circuit, Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit, Douglas Ginsburg and Stephen Williams of the D.C. Circuit, the Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer and Antonin Scalia, and many others.

In some areas of practice like antitrust, public utility regulation, or consumer product safety regulation, a lawyer unfamiliar with economic principles cannot be considered competent. In 1991 The American Law and Economics Association was founded to coordinate research efforts in the economic analysis of law. The membership of this association includes academic and practicing lawyers and economists. Since 1999, the Association has published the American Law and Economics Review, a refereed journal.


For more information, please contact Director of the Master of Arts Program, Allen C. Goodman.

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