Shakespeare May Have Been Right About Lawyers

Caught in the snares of the legal system, not a few Americans have echoed the desire of Dick the butcher in Shakespeare's King Henry VI, Part II to "kill all the lawyers." But economists have their own apprehensions regarding the law, whose practice, they believe, can often interfere with the efficient workings of the economy and inhibit growth. In a recent study, Kevin M. Murphy and Robert W. Vishny of the University of Chicago and Andrei Shleifer of Harvard University tested this notion by looking at college enrollment patterns in some 55 countries.

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