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 or better than licensing, without shutting people out of work. It makes the case that before imposing, or continuing to impose, any occupational regulation, policymakers should demand systematic, empirical evidence of harm—and then select the least restrictive and most appropriate option to provide the desired consumer protections.
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