Tuesday, June 02, 2015

The de-licensing of occupations in the United States

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Occupational licensing directly affects nearly 30 percent of U.S. workers today and continues to grow in density and scope. In this article, we identify and analyze those rare instances when occupational licensing laws have been eliminated—what we refer to as “de-licensing.” We also discuss recent examples in which courts decided to limit the scope of occupational licensing laws, and we analyze recent efforts (almost uniformly unsuccessful) of a few states to de-license groups of occupations. The reason proposed for most of these efforts is that excessive levels of licensing have hindered job creation, especially for people with lower levels of education. We argue that the paucity of successful de-licensing efforts is due to intense lobbying by associations of licensed professionals as well as the high costs of sunset reviews by state agencies charged with the periodic review of licensing and its possible termination.

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