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Driving for a license
Occupational licensing continues to grow, but benefits to consumers are not obvious.
Our Guild-Ridden Economy: Issues and Possible Solutions
The growth of occupational licensing in the United States has resulted in higher labor costs, restricted services and other economic distortions, with relatively limited benefits in practice quality. This essay describes the state of such licensing, discusses pros and cons of the practice, and suggests several proposals to improve the current situation.
Occupational Licensing and Labor Market Fluidity
We show that occupational licensing has significant negative effects on labor market fluidity defined as cross-occupation mobility. Using a balanced panel of workers constructed from the CPS and SIPP data, we analyze the link between occupational licensing and labor market outcomes. We find that workers with a government-issued occupational license experience churn rates significantly lower than those of non-licensed workers. Specifically, licensed workers are 24% less likely to switch occupations and 3% less likely to become unemployed in the following year. Moreover, occupational licensing ...
Is Occupational Licensing a Barrier to Interstate Migration?
Occupational licensure, one of the most significant labor market regulations in the United States, may restrict the interstate movement of workers. We analyze the interstate migration of 22 licensed occupations. Using an empirical strategy that controls for unobservable characteristics that drive long-distance moves, we find that the between-state migration rate for individuals in occupations with state-specific licensing exam requirements is 36 percent lower relative to members of other occupations. Members of licensed occupations with national licensing exams show no evidence of limited ...
Analyzing the Influence of Occupational Licensing Duration and Grandfathering on Labor Market Outcomes
The length of time from the implementation of an occupational licensing statute (i.e., licensing duration) may matter in influencing labor market outcomes. Adding to or raising the entry barriers are likely easier once an occupation is established and has gained influence in a political jurisdiction. States often enact grandfather clauses and ratchet up requirements that protect existing workers and increase entry costs to new entrants. We analyze the labor market influence of the duration of occupational licensing statutes for 13 major universally licensed occupations over a 75-year period. ...
Analyzing the Labor Market Outcomes of Occupational Licensing
Recent assessments of occupational licensing have shown varying effects of the institution on labor market outcomes. This study revisits the relationship between occupational licensing and labor market outcomes by analyzing a new topical module to the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). Relative to previously available data, the topical module offers more detailed information on occupational licensing from government, with a larger sample size and access to a richer set of person-level characteristics. We exploit this larger and more detailed data set to examine the labor ...
A Welfare Analysis of Occupational Licensing in U.S. States
We assess the welfare consequences of occupational licensing for workers and consumers. We estimate a model of labor market equilibrium in which licensing restricts labor supply but also affects labor demand via worker quality and selection. On the margin of occupations licensed differently between U.S. states, we find that licensing raises wages and hours but reduces employment. We estimate an average welfare loss of 12 percent of occupational surplus. Workers and consumers respectively bear 70 and 30 percent of the incidence. Higher willingness to pay offsets 80 percent of higher prices for ...