The Continuing Burden of Occupational Licensing in the United States

This page displays additional results for the article, “The Continuing Burden of Occupational Licensing in the United States,” published in Economic Affairs.

Section 3.3 (Change over Time) describes differences in licensing requirements among occupations and states between 2012 and 2017. To calculate differences, we used a process similar to that described in the article by which we combined licensing requirements for each occupation and each state into a single score. The scores were created by transforming the licensing requirements into z-scores and then summing across all requirements for each occupation or state by year. We then subtracted the 2012 sum from 2017.

Figure 1 displays changes by occupation, ranking occupations from greatest positive difference (psychiatric aide) to greatest negative difference (home entertainment installer). Positive differences mean growth in licensing requirements (i.e., more burdensome requirements), and negative differences represent a decrease in licensing requirements. Scores on the x-axis represent the difference in z-scores between 2012 and 2017. Similarly, Figure 2 illustrates differences by state, with those showing the greatest positive differences at the top (led by Alaska) and those with the greatest negative differences at the bottom (led by Arizona).

Figure 1:2012 to 2017 differences in z-scores by occupation

Figure 2:2012 to 2017 differences in z-scores by state