Economic Liberty Research Reports

Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing

Boards Behaving Badly

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…

Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide

Cosmetology | Economic Liberty | Food Freedom | Hair Braiding | Occupational Licensing | Transportation | Vending

Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide

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,…

Cosmetology | Economic Liberty | Hair Braiding | Occupational Licensing

Untangling Regulations

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…

The Attack on Food Freedom

Economic Liberty | Vending

The Attack on Food Freedom

Today’s bans and strict regulations ultimately limit the choices available to eaters—which include quite literally everyone—and, in the process, prevent food entrepreneurs from earning an honest living.

Economic Liberty | Food Freedom | Vending

Street Eats, Safe Eats

Street food, long a part of American life, has boomed in popularity in recent years. Yet an idea persists that food from trucks and sidewalk carts is unclean and unsafe. Street Eats, Safe Eats tests…

Florida’s Dirty Dozen

Economic Liberty

Florida’s Dirty Dozen

Florida legislators can make Florida more business friendly by repealing 12 anticompetitive, senseless and arbitrary laws that hold back entrepreneurs.

The Balance Between Public Protection and the Right to Earn a Living

Economic Liberty

The Balance Between Public Protection and the Right to Earn a Living

One of the significant challenges facing licensing professionals is striking the most effective, efficient and just balance between regulation of occupations and preserving occupational practice free from unnecessary government restrictions. As discussed in greater detail…

Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing | Teeth Whitening

White Out

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…

Seven Myths and Realities about Food Trucks

Economic Liberty | Vending

Seven Myths and Realities about Food Trucks

Using facts and real-world examples, IJ shows that there is no basis for the argument that restaurants need government intervention to “protect” them from food trucks.

Food-Truck Freedom

Economic Liberty | Vending

Food-Truck Freedom

In order to foster the conditions that will let food trucks thrive, this report offers recommendations based on the legislative best practices of Los Angeles and other cities.

License to Work 1

Occupational Licensing

License to Work 1

License to Work, 1st Edition Published in 2010, this is an older edition of IJ’s landmark License to Work report. You can download the report here, but please see the 3rd and current edition…

Streets of Dreams

Economic Liberty | Food Freedom | Vending

Streets of Dreams

Street vending is, and always has been, a part of the American economy and a fixture of urban life. Thanks to low start-up costs, the trade has offered countless entrepreneurs—particularly immigrants and others with little…

Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing

Who’s Misleading Whom? Defining Titles in Occupations ‘On the Make’

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,…

Miami’s Vice

Economic Liberty

Miami’s Vice

Many Miami entrepreneurs are subject to occupation- or industry-specific regulations, which can take years of arbitrary education and cost thousands of dollars. Small business owners also must comply with paperwork and red tape that is…

No Work in Newark

Economic Liberty

No Work in Newark

This study examines grassroots entrepreneurship in Newark and offers practical recommendations on how the city, which has become synonymous with urban dysfunction, could reform its laws and practices to encourage more small businesses to operate…

No Brotherly Love for Entrepreneurs

Economic Liberty

No Brotherly Love for Entrepreneurs

At nearly every level, Philadelphia’s city government and related bureaucracies operate with a one-word vocabulary: Whatever the question is, the answer is “No.” From zoning to permitting to occupational licensing, would-be entrepreneurs hear that answer…

Washington, DC vs. Entrepreneurs

Economic Liberty

Washington, DC vs. Entrepreneurs

Rather than pursuing their dreams, too many residents in Washington, D.C., move to more hospitable jurisdictions, take their businesses underground or simply give up.

Regulatory Field

Economic Liberty

Regulatory Field

This report examines government-created barriers in industries that have traditionally provided a better way of life for the economically disenfranchised.

Houston, We Have a Problem

Economic Liberty

Houston, We Have a Problem

This report focuses on the areas Houston needs to improve in order to remain an opportunity city for all.

L.A. vs. Small Business

Economic Liberty

L.A. vs. Small Business

Los Angeles entrepreneurs are being strangled by red tape, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, for entrepreneurs to earn an honest living in the City of Angels.

Unhappy Days for Milwaukee Entrepreneurs

Economic Liberty

Unhappy Days for Milwaukee Entrepreneurs

This report chronicles the ways in which the city of Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin make life difficult for small businesses, which threatens both entrepreneurship and the American Dream.

The Power of One Entrepreneur

Economic Liberty

The Power of One Entrepreneur

Funeral home and cemetery owner Kim Powers Bridges battled bureaucrats in her home state of Oklahoma where she wanted to sell caskets online. Unsuccessful in that fight, she grew a brick-and-mortar business in Tennessee and…

The Power of One Entrepreneur

Economic Liberty

The Power of One Entrepreneur

High-tech Dallas entrepreneur Thane Hayhurst helps businesses across Texas keep their computers running at peak efficiency, but he was threatened to be put out of business under a law that effectively requires anyone who conducts…

The Power of One Entrepreneur

Economic Liberty

The Power of One Entrepreneur

New York City commuter van owner Hector Ricketts battled the politically powerful and heavily subsidized public buses for years. Despite overwhelming odds against him, Hector continues to grow his “dollar van” business.

The Power of One Entrepreneur

Economic Liberty

The Power of One Entrepreneur

Seattle-area bagel businessman Dennis Ballen’s thriving enterprise was almost driven out of business by a local law that barred him from advertising his business. He joined with IJ to fight for his First Amendment rights…

The Power of One Entrepreneur

Economic Liberty

The Power of One Entrepreneur

An African hair braider from Tupelo, Miss., Melony Armstrong successfully challenged an anti-competitive licensing law in her state and has grown into an inspiring economic force who brings hope and opportunity to her community.

Blooming Nonsense

Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing

Blooming Nonsense

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…