For information on applying to the Department’s joint degree in law and economics (JD/MA) please contact the Director of the MA Program, Prof. Allen C. Goodman.

Allen C. Goodman
Department of Economics
Wayne State University
2074 FAB, 656 W. Kirby
Detroit, MI 48202

Phone: 313-577-3345


A. Background

The J.D.-M.A. 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.

B. Program Requirements

The program requires completion of 32 academic credits. The specific requirements of the program (summarized in the table below) are:  (1) Economics 6000; (2) any one of Economics 6100, 6120, or 7100 to meet a requirement of proficiency in statistics; (3) two 7000-level Economics courses in one field; and, (4) one more required course, which can be either (A) Economics 5250 (Economic Analysis of Law) or (B) The Law and Economics Seminar (Lex 8246). The foregoing requirements provide a total of 19 or 20 credits.  The remaining 12 or 13 credits, required to reach the total of 32, may be completed either from (A) economics courses: those at the 5000-level or above (excluding 5000, 5050 and 5100), including Economics 5250; or from (B) law school courses: the Law and Economics Seminar (Lex 8246), if not taken previously, the Antitrust course (Lex 7026) or Seminar (Lex 8001), or International Law (Lex 7408).

There is an examination requirement: the student pass the microeconomics M.A. exam and one economics field exam, passed at the M.A. level. The course requirements are set forth in the table below.
Requirements of the J.D. - M.A. Program:


Economics 6000
Any one of Economics 6100, 6120, or 7100 (fulfilling the statistics requirement)
Two courses in one field at the 7000 level (i.e., two consecutive graduate economics courses in any of the following: Health Economics, Industrial Organization, International Economics, Labor Economics)
Either Economics 5250 (Economic Analysis of Law) or
the Law and Economics Seminar (Lex 8246)
Enough additional courses to bring the total to 32 credits. Eligible courses, in addition to those listed above, are economics courses at the 5000-level or above (excluding 5000, 5050 and 5100), and law school courses in International Law (Lex 7408) and Antitrust (Lex 7026) and the Antitrust Seminar (Lex 8001).  The maximum number of law school credits allowed toward the degree would be 12.

A student will not obtain credit toward the J.D.-M.A. for any economics course in which he or she receives less than a B; there is no credit for a B- . It should also be noted that a maximum of 12 credits in the Law School is allowed as credit toward the joint degree.

In order to enter the program, an applicant must have completed the courses required for the first year of law school at WSU (and to be awarded the degree must subsequently complete law school).

With respect to tuition, each student is charged for each course at the rate generally applicable to the program for the school in which the course is offered, i.e., law school courses at the default law school rate, economics courses at the normal rate for graduate students in the College of Liberal Arts.

There are two coordinators for the J.D./M.A. program, one in the Law School (the Assistant Dean of Students) and the other in the Economics Department. The functions of each coordinator are to explain the program to prospective students, and advise students in the program about the choice of courses.  The Coordinator in the Economics Department is Dr. Allen C. Goodman, the Director of the MA Program; the coordinator in the Law School is the current Assistant Dean of Students.


 ↑ back to top