Research Reports

Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing

At What Cost

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…

Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing

The Continuing Burden of Occupational Licensing in the United States

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…

Economic Liberty | Transportation

Regulatory Overdrive

Traditional taxis are highly regulated in most American cities, with local regulators determining everything from how many taxis can be licensed to the types of services they can provide to the fares they can charge…

Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing

You’ll Need a License for That Job

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…

Expropriation in Puerto Rico

Eminent Domain | Private Property

Expropriation in Puerto Rico

In a new report (released August 6), the Institute for Justice (IJ) gives Puerto Rico’s eminent domain laws a grade of “F.” IJ is a nonprofit, civil liberties law firm dedicated to ending eminent domain…

Economic Liberty | Vending

A Golden Opportunity for the Golden State

California’s sidewalk vendors face a patchwork of arbitrary and anticompetitive rules that make it difficult—or even impossible—to ply their chosen trade and share in the prosperity of the United States’ largest economy. Now the California…

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

The Questionable Ethics of Civil Forfeiture

On a cool, sunny November day, Mark Brewer – a disabled decorated U.S. Air Force veteran – was driving through the state of Nebraska on his way to Los Angles to visit his uncle. While…

Economic Liberty | Food Freedom

Flour Power

All across the country, thousands of Americans are making food at home to sell in their communities. Together, they form the small but growing “cottage food” industry. With renewed interest in this age-old industry, laws…

Economic Liberty | Private Property

Finding the American Dream at Home

Across the country, millions of enterprising people are running businesses out of their homes. This report outlines the myriad benefits of home-based businesses and suggests that government regulations curtailing them are short-sighted. It details how…

Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing

License to Work

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,…

Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing

The Inverted Pyramid

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…

Educational Choice

Federal Special Education Law and State School Choice Programs

In this article, Nat Malkus and Tim Keller outline the federal laws that protect students with disabilities, give an overview of school choice programs, and explain how participating in school choice programs affects the rights…

Educational Choice

12 Myths and Realities about Private Educational Choice Programs

Educational choice programs—defined broadly as programs that provide parents financial aid to opt their children out of the traditional public school system—have been a topic of significant public discussion and debate in recent months. Despite…

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Forfeiture Transparency & Accountability

Every year, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies across the United States seize and keep billions of dollars in cash, cars, homes and other property using a legal tool called forfeiture. Criminal forfeiture requires…

Economic Liberty

Opportunity Lost

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says his “administration is committed to creating the conditions and opportunities that will allow this industry [food trucks] to thrive, create jobs and support a vibrant food culture across…

Enforcing the Constitution

Enforcing the Constitution

The Constitution was written to limit government power, but those limits are meaningless unless judges restrain public officials when they overstep their bounds. Judicial engagement is a cutting-edge approach to judicial review that…

Putting Licensing to the Test

Commercial Speech | First Amendment | Occupational Licensing

Putting Licensing to the Test

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…

Occupations: A Hierarchy of Regulatory Options

Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing

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…

Open for Business

Economic Liberty

Open for Business

Throughout the nation, cities and counties are looking for ways to promote economic liberty and improve the well-being of their residents But all too often this desire to improve economic conditions manifests itself in expensive…

Cosmetology | Economic Liberty | Hair Braiding | Occupational Licensing

Barriers to Braiding

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…

Educational Choice | Tax Credit Scholarships

On Common Constitutional Ground

Launched in 2008, Georgia’s scholarship tax credit program will help over 13,000 children get the best education for their needs at secular and religious private schools this year. But in 2014 school choice opponents sued…

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Policing for Profit: Second Edition

Civil forfeiture laws pose some of the greatest threats to property rights in the nation today, too often making it easy and lucrative for law enforcement to take and keep property—regardless of the owner’s guilt…

Upwardly Mobile

Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing | Vending

Upwardly Mobile

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…

Enforcing the Constitution

Enforcing the Constitution

The Constitution was written to limit government power, but those limits are meaningless unless judges restrain public officials when they overstep their bounds. Judicial engagement is a cutting-edge approach to judicial review that…

Occupational Speech and the First Amendment

First Amendment | Occupational Speech | Tour Guides

Occupational Speech and the First Amendment

In May 2013, newspaper columnist John Rosemond received a cease-and-desist letter from the Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology informing him that his syndicated column — in which he answers readers’ questions about parenting —…

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…

Regulating work

This study examines the scope and burden of occupational licensing laws in the United States for 102 low- and moderate-income occupations. Findings indicate that the licences studied require of aspiring workers, on average, $US209 in…

Seize First, Question Later

Civil Forfeiture | Private Property

Seize First, Question Later

Thanks to federal civil forfeiture laws, the Internal Revenue Service has seized millions of dollars from thousands of Americans’ bank accounts without proof of criminal wrongdoing.