Skip to content

J. Mark Ramseyer & Eric B. Rasmusen, Lowering the Bar to Raise the Bar: Licensing Difficulty and Attorney Quality in Japan, 41 J. Japanese Stud. 113 (2015).

Abstract: By easing the difficulty of the Japanese bar-exam equivalent, recent changes increased the quality of young lawyers. The result is counterintuitive, but a relaxation in a licensing standard can have this effect if it lowers the costs to taking a test enough to increase the number and quality of the people willing to go to the trouble of sitting for it. We explore the theoretical circumstances under which this phenomenon can occur and discuss the evidence that this is indeed what happened in Japan.