Study Of Yale Law Students Helps Explain Economic Inequality
It takes a certain breed of person to attend Yale Law School. The acceptance rate for the class of 2018 was just under 10.5%. The median GPA was 3.93 and the median LSAT was 173. It also takes more than $56,000 a year to go there. It’s truly an elite group that will go on to lead influential lives—many of which will be making decisions for this country (and possibly others).
In terms of income equality and economic inequality in the United States, it may not be a good idea for Yale Law students to be influencing the direction of the country, according to a new study. Specifically, the study found Yale Law Students are more likely to make economic decisions to increase the economic wealth of the country opposed to increasing income equality within the nation.
More than 200 Yale Law students participated, with the respondents being recruited in the spring of 2007, 2010, and 2013. Yale Law students were chosen for one group of the study because of their status. More than half of the participants came have both parents with graduate degrees. And more than half come from a zip code that has above average income.
The group of law students were compared to more than 300 Americans of different demographics, socioeconomic statuses, and locations. Another control group was comprised of “non-Yale elites,” which the study defined as having a graduate degree and a household income of more than $100,000. The final control group was made up entirely of University of California-Berkeley undergraduates. They were chosen because of the prestige of the school and its history of having a diverse student population.
The participants played decision-based games in which every choice had a consequence for them and an anonymous other player. Decisions broadly either led to promotions for both players, which would decrease income disparities or led to “efficiency” and increased wealth for both players, but at different amounts, maintaining a greater income disparity.
The Yale Law students were the only group to significantly choose efficiency more than any other group. The UC-Berkeley students chose efficiency second most, but not in a statistically significant amount. Non-Yale elites were next in choosing efficiency and the control group of random Americans chose efficiency least.
The authors of the study suggest this is an indicator of why very few policy decisions have been made to decrease income disparity in America.
Source: American Bar Association Journal and ARS Technica
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