fbpx

Occupational Licensing

  • June 22, 2020    |    Perspectives on Economic Liberty

    Barred From Working

    A Nationwide Study of Occupational Licensing Barriers for Ex-Offenders

    Earning an honest living is one of the best ways to prevent re-offending. But strict occupational licensing requirements make it harder for ex-offenders to find work, thwarting their chances of successful reentry. Along with other “collateral consequences,” like losing the right to vote or the ability to receive government assistance, ex-offenders can be denied a license to work simply because of their criminal record.

    This report provides the most up-to-date account of occupational licensing barriers for ex-offenders and will be regularly updated whenever a state changes its laws. Using 10 distinct criteria, this report grades all 50 states and the District of Columbia on their legal protections for licensing applicants with criminal records. (See Methodology.)

    • The average state grade is a C-. Nationwide, 6 states—Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina—earned a B or better. Reflecting the surge of interest in this issue, five of those six states have reformed their licensing laws since 2015.
    • Indiana ranked as the best state in the nation for ex-offenders seeking a license to work, earning this report’s only A grade. In contrast, five states—Alabama, Alaska, Nevada, South Dakota, and Vermont—were tied for last, receiving a zero on a 100-point scale for their lack of protections for felons seeking licenses.
  • November 14, 2018    |    Strategic Research

    At What Cost

    State and National Estimates of the Economic Costs of Occupational Licensing

    Not only do state occupational licensing laws force people to spend a lot of time and money earning a license instead of earning a living, they also impose real economic costs. This study takes advantage of a uniquely large dataset to offer the first state-level estimates of licensing’s economic costs for 36 states, as well…

  • October 18, 2018    |    Scholarly Articles

    This study follows up an earlier study in which we examined the scope and burden of 102 occupational licensing laws in the United States for low‐ and moderate‐income occupations. Using data collected in 2017, findings indicate that the licences studied require of aspiring workers, on average, US$262 in fees, one exam, and about 12 months…

  • August 13, 2018    |    Scholarly Articles

    In 2013, Heather Kokesch Del Castillo found herself in an unfulfilling career and began to question whether she was following her true passion. At the same time, she was growing increasingly dissatisfied with her physical fitness. She joined a local gym to make fitness a priority again. Suggested citation: Carpenter, D. M. (2018, Summer). You’ll…

  • November 13, 2017    |    Strategic Research

    Today, more Americans than ever must get a government permission slip before they can earn an honest living, thanks to the spread of occupational licensing laws. Licensing laws now guard entry into hundreds of occupations, including jobs that offer upward mobility to those of modest means, such as cosmetologist, auctioneer, athletic trainer and landscape contractor.…

  • November 13, 2017    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    The Inverted Pyramid

    10 Less Restrictive Alternatives to Occupational Licensing

    When it comes to occupational regulation, policymakers may see their options as action or inaction: licensing or no licensing. In fact, policymakers can choose from a plethora of alternatives that provide the purported benefits of licensing, without the downsides. This paper discusses 10 less restrictive alternatives to licensing that can protect consumers as well as…

  • June 26, 2017    |    Scholarly Articles

    At this moment, a campaign is being waged in America’s state capitals. Its purpose? To protect the public from the menace of unregulated music therapists. A music therapist “directs and participates in instrumental and vocal music activities designed to meet patients’ physical or psychological needs.” Whatever one thinks of this work, it is difficult to imagine…

  • October 1, 2016    |    Strategic Research

    Putting Licensing to the Test

    How Licenses for Tour Guides Fail Consumers—and Guides

    More Americans than ever need a license to work. But what do occupational licenses actually accomplish? This case study of one such license adds to a growing body of research that suggests this red tape does nothing but create needless barriers to work. It finds that a licensing scheme for tour guides in the District…

  • September 30, 2016    |    Scholarly Articles

    Occupations:

    A Hierarchy of Regulatory Options

    Momentum is growing in favor of reining in excessive occupational licensing. However, policymaking in this arena is too often plagued by assumptions that the only regulatory options are no licensing or full licensing. Such binary thinking sees policymakers swayed by specious claims that licensing is necessary to protect public health and safety or to promote…

  • July 19, 2016    |    Strategic Research

    Barriers to Braiding

    How Job-Killing Licensing Laws Tangle Natural Hair Care in Needless Red Tape

    African-style hair braiding is a time-tested and natural craft. Yet most states force braiders to get a government license and take hundreds or even thousands of hours of classes to work legally. This study finds that such onerous licensing has nothing to do with protecting public health and safety. Instead, it just keeps braiders out…

  • October 6, 2015    |    Strategic Research

    Upwardly Mobile

    Street Vending and the American Dream

    As old as the country itself, American street vending has never been more prominent. It’s the subject of television shows, think pieces and—less happily—burdensome regulations in cities nationwide. Yet hard data about vendors and their economic contributions have been hard to come by—until now. Alongside the stories of a diverse group of vendors, Upwardly Mobile:…

  • March 1, 2015    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Boards Behaving Badly

    How States Can Prevent Licensing Boards From Restraining Competition, Harming Consumers, and Generating Legal Liability Under North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC

    In a nutshell, states should: Charge an independent “licensing ombudsman” with reviewing the actions of state licensing boards; Charge the licensing ombudsman with a mandate to promote economic competition; Make the ombudsman responsible for conducting periodic reviews to identify ways to reduce licensing burdens; and Eliminate licensing altogether for occupations where it is unnecessary.

  • September 1, 2014    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide

    How to Succeed in Your Fight for Economic Liberty

    You have the right to earn an honest living. This is called “economic liberty” and it is protected by the U.S. Constitution. But often, entrepreneurs face burdensome, arbitrary and anti-competitive laws that make it difficult, if not impossible, to earn an honest living in the occupation of their choosing. If you are an entrepreneur struggling…

  • July 1, 2014    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Untangling Regulations

    Natural Hair Braiders Fight Against Irrational Licensing

    Natural hair braiding is a beauty practice popular among many African, African-American and immigrant communities in the United States. But braiders in many states have to endure hundreds of hours of unnecessary coursework and pay thousands of dollars before they can legally work.

  • April 1, 2013    |    Strategic Research

    White Out

    How Dental Industry Insiders Thwart Competition from Teeth-whitening Entrepreneurs

    As the teeth-whitening industry has exploded in recent years, so too has the push for laws and regulations that enable licensed dentists and hygienists to capture a greater share of that market by banning anyone else from offering teeth-whitening services. This study investigates this expansion of dental licensing as a form of economic protectionism, where…

  • May 1, 2012    |    Strategic Research

    License to Work: First Edition

    A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing

    License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing is the first national study to measure how burdensome occupational licensing laws are for lower-income workers and aspiring entrepreneurs. The report documents the license requirements for 102 low- and moderate-income occupations—such as barber, massage therapist and preschool teacher—across all 50 states and the District…

  • April 7, 2012    |    Scholarly Articles

    This study examines hypothesized benefits associated with occupational licensing in one long-regulated industry in Louisiana—floristry—in order to determine to what extent licensing results in theorized benefits that might justify the costs associated with licensure systems. Results indicate the regulation appears not to result in a statistically significant difference in quality of product. Moreover, floristjudges, whether…

  • April 8, 2011    |    Scholarly Articles

    Can occupational titles mislead the public? Should the use of titles be regulated to protect against such a possibility? Traditionally, occupational regulation is conceptualized as a restriction on the practice of an occupation through licensure, often called market shelters (Freidson 1970a; 1970b; Timmermans, 2008). Another less-discussed form of regulation includes titling laws, where the practice…

  • March 1, 2010    |    Strategic Research

    Blooming Nonsense

    Experiment Reveals Louisiana's Florist Licensing Scheme as Pointless and Anti-Competitive

    For more than a decade, Monique Chauvin has owned and operated one of the most popular and recognized floral shops in all of New Orleans. Her work is regularly featured in magazines, and her store has been repeatedly voted as “Tops of the Town” in New Orleans magazine by residents of the Big Easy. Yet…

  • February 1, 2009    |    Strategic Research

    Designed to Exclude

    How Interior Design Insiders Use Government Power to Exclude Minorities & Burden Consumers

    Americans used to be free to practice interior design work and succeed or fail based solely on their skills. But, to the detriment of consumers and would-be entrepreneurs, that is changing. The American Society of Interior Designers, an industry trade group, would like state governments to define what it means to be an interior designer…

  • August 26, 2008    |    Scholarly Articles

    This case study examines a form of occupational regulation infrequently examined in academic literature – titling laws. These laws regulate who may legally use a phrase, or title, to describe their work to the public. Focusing on the interior design industry, this article demonstrates how industry leaders use titling laws as the first step in…

JOIN THE FIGHT!   Sign up for newsletters:

JOIN THE FIGHT!