Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing

Raising Barriers, Not Quality

This study tests claims that occupational licenses make consumers better off by screening out workers likely to provide inferior service. Comparing Yelp ratings for service providers in neighboring states with different licensing regimes, this study…

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Constitutional GPA

Immunity and Accountability

Constitutional GPA

Constitutional rights only exist if they can be enforced. But a confusing patchwork of immunity doctrines and special rules often means they cannot be. Chief among the doctrines that prevent constitutional accountability is qualified immunity,…

Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing

Too Many Licenses

In recent decades, states have enacted occupational licensing laws covering a growing number of jobs, and now more American workers than ever must get a license to work. But do we need these new licenses?…

The Institute for Justice produces original research on issues central to our mission, and IJ legal experts often write reports to inform public policy debates.

IJ's Key Findings


Forfeiture often victimizes the innocent: In one survey, only 1 in 4 victims was found or pleaded guilty, but 69% lost their property forever.

Occupational licensing costs the economy 2 million jobs and as much as $184 billion in lost economic value.

To get licensed, cosmetology students take on larger-than-average student debt—but only about a third graduate on time and licensees earn just $26,000 a year.

Georgia state laws are the nation’s worst for promoting cities’ abuse of fines and fees to raise revenue.

IJ's Strategic Research

Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing

Raising Barriers, Not Quality

This study tests claims that occupational licenses make consumers better off by screening out workers likely to provide inferior service. Comparing Yelp ratings for service providers in neighboring states with different licensing regimes, this study…

Economic Liberty | Occupational Licensing

Too Many Licenses

In recent decades, states have enacted occupational licensing laws covering a growing number of jobs, and now more American workers than ever must get a license to work. But do we need these new licenses?…

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IJ's Landmark Research

Civil Forfeiture

Policing for Profit

Nationwide, civil forfeiture is a massive threat to property and due process rights. So finds the third edition of Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture. The report presents the largest ever collection…

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,…

IJ's Legal and Policy Studies

Economic Liberty

Barriers to Business

Too often entrepreneurs struggle with local regulatory burdens, finding themselves trapped by high fees, long wait times, and complex paperwork.

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