New Report Exposes Misinformation From Interior Design Cartel

J. Justin Wilson
J. Justin Wilson · May 22, 2008

WEB RELEASE: August 5, 2008
Lisa Knepper
or Bob Ewing
(703) 682-9320
[Economic Liberty]

Despite continued claims by a faction of industry insiders within the interior design community, entrepreneurs should not need the government’s permission to become interior designers, according to a report released today.

“The interior design industry is a case study in how special interests team up with government to pass anti-competitive laws,” said Dr. Dick M. Carpenter II, director of strategic research at the Institute for Justice, a national public interest law firm that defends the rights of entrepreneurs.   “In more than 30 years of advocating for protectionist legislation, the interior design cartel has not presented one shred of evidence to justify cutting out competition from entrepreneurs.”

In September 2006, the Institute for Justice released Designing Cartels: How Industry Insiders Cut Out Competition.  Authored by Carpenter, this analysis of the interior design industry established that there is no need for regulation of the industry and that consumers do not benefit where the industry is regulated.  Further, the study detailed that the push for interior design regulation comes exclusively from a faction within the industry itself, as a subset of current practitioners seek the economic advantages of excluding competitors from the market.

In November 2007, Dr. Caren Martin, an advocate of interior design regulation, released a report purporting to rebut the key claims of Designing Cartels.   Martin’s report, however, provided no evidence of the need for or benefits from regulation, while essentially conceding that the push for such regulation comes exclusively from industry insiders.  Martin’s attack does not disprove the key findings of Designing Cartels and, as such, is yet another in a long line of examples of design industry insiders’ failure to make a persuasive case for regulation.

“Caren Martin’s missive presents absolutely no evidence to refute our findings or support the cartel’s justification to exclude competition,” said Carpenter.  “Our rebuttal demonstrates that her report is laced with logical and factual errors that severely undermine its conclusions.”

Carpenter’s rebuttal, Misinformation & Interior Design Regulation:  How the Interior Design Cartel’s Attack on IJ’s Designing Cartels Misses the Mark, is now available.

Carpenter’s work on interior design regulation with IJ Research Associate John K. Ross is featured in the current issue of Regulation magazine at and is forthcoming in the peer-reviewed journal Regulation and Governance.

Founded in 1991, the Institute for Justice has represented entrepreneurs nationwide who overcame discriminatory government regulation, opening up long-closed markets and securing the right to earn an honest living.   The Institute has successfully worked with designers in New Mexico and Washington and is currently representing four Texas designers in a federal lawsuit.