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The Industrial Organization of the Japanese Bar: Levels and Determinants of Attorney Income

Author

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  • Nakazato, Minoru
  • Ramseyer, J. Mark
  • Rasmusen, Eric

Abstract

Using micro-level data on attorney incomes in 2004, we reconstruct the industrial organization of the Japanese legal services industry. These data suggest a somewhat bifurcated bar, with two sources of unusually high income: talent in Tokyo, and scarcity elsewhere. The most talented would-be lawyers (those with the highest opportunity costs) pass the bar-exam equivalent on one of their first tries or abandon the effort. If they pass, they tend to opt for careers in Tokyo that involve complex litigation and business transactions. This work places a premium on their talent, and from it they earn appropriately high incomes. The less talented face lower opportunity costs, and willingly spend many years studying for the exam. If they eventually pass, they disproportionately forego the many amenities available to professional families in Tokyo and opt instead for careers in the under-lawyered provinces. There, they earn scarcity and monopoly rents not available in the far more competitive Tokyo market.

Suggested Citation

  • Nakazato, Minoru & Ramseyer, J. Mark & Rasmusen, Eric, 2006. "The Industrial Organization of the Japanese Bar: Levels and Determinants of Attorney Income," MPRA Paper 1444, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:1444
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    Cited by:

    1. Eiji Yamamura, 2011. "Brand and Performance in a New Environment: Analysis of the Law School Market in Japan," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 39(2), pages 155-164, June.
    2. Yamamura, Eiji, 2010. "The effect of learning varies according to locality: Micro data analysis of the lawyer market in Japan," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 193-197, August.
    3. Ramseyer, J. Mark & Rasmusen, Eric B., 2007. "Political uncertainty's effect on judicial recruitment and retention: Japan in the 1990s," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 329-345, June.
    4. Yamamura Eiji, 2008. "The Market for Lawyers and Social Capital: Are Informal Rules a Substitute for Formal Ones?," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 499-517, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    lawyers; Japan;

    JEL classification:

    • K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General

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