Adam Ozimek has a great post on the new Institute for Justice report, about how out-of-control occupational licensing is creating too many barriers to entry in the labor market. Basically, incumbents in various sectors get the state to require licensing for people to work in that sector, which reduces competition by making people jump through a bunch of hoops in order to sell their skills for money.
For some sectors the rationale for licensing (or at least certification) is more plausible, but in others, it’s patently ridiculous. Barber and cosmetologist licensing, for instance. Here’s Adam with some highlights from the report:
1. Those receiving licenses have lower income than the average worker ($30k vs $47k), more likely to be minority, and more likely to be a high school dropout or have just a high school education than the general population. Importantly, those crowded out of these jobs probably have even lower income and even less educated than those who actually got the licenses.
2. Forty-seven states find it unnecessary to license interior designers, and yet the four that do find it necessary to receive 2,190 days of training to become one. This is a joke, and congressmen in those four states should be ashamed of themselves for this obvious and egregious handout.
3. Defenders of licensing regularly point to safety concerns, but for a large proportion of the occupations that are licensed somewhere, there are other states where they are not licensed, and in these states we do not witness of epidemic of wildly untrained barbers accidently cutting off ears, for example. In addition, some jobs that clearly do involve safety often require vastly less training than others where the argument is much more tenuous. For instance, cosmetologists on average require 372 days of training, while EMTs only require 33.
4. States should have commissions with the power to strike down these laws unless evidence is presented that the licenses provide a significant health and safety benefit that justifies the cost. For many occupations if one wished to be a tedious contrarian one could say “well, you see florists are a public health concern because…” and then Slate your way into a convoluted argument in defense of a license, but the beauty of this study is that it shows other states where licensing isn’t required. Angry and concerned citizens of 26 states should be saying “South Carolina doesn’t require a license to be a taxidermist, so why the fuck do I have to have one?”
Here are all the Business-related licensing Boards in Pennsylvania. I bolded the ones I think for sure need to go:
Architects Licensure Board
Certified Real Estate Appraisers
Registration Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists
Real Estate Commission
Vehicle Manufacturers, Dealers and Salespersons
Navigation Commission for the Delaware River and its Navigable Tributaries
And here are all the Health-related Boards:
Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators
Speech-Language and Hearing Examiners
Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors
Rick Snyder, Michigan’s Republican Governor, is taking this issue on. Hopefully Tom Corbett will follow suit. These really are “job killing regulations”, although not the environmental ones your typical Republican is thinking about.