Occupational Licensing Run Wild

Occupational Licensing Run Wild

The authors note that while they may have missed some examples, especially since there is no single authoritative source on de-licensing, it is clear that de-licensing is uncommon, hard to achieve, and difficult to make stick. Thus, “[i]n every instance we analyzed, de-licensing and de-licensing attempts have been met not only with stiff resistance but also usually (when successful) with a movement to reinstitute licensing.” Furthermore, the authors state that so-called “sunset laws” requiring periodic assessment and reenactment of existing laws are largely ineffective, both because sunset panels rarely recommend de-licensing and even when they do, those recommendations are routinely ignored by legislatures. Moreover, the incentives for licensees to resist deregulation are strong —among other things, they face an immediate drop in income once the artificial scarcity in providers ensured by the licensing law is eliminated — “while the benefits to the public [from de-licensure] are low and widely dispersed.”

Dana Berliner, Daniel Greenberg, Paul J. Larkin, Jr, Clark Neily, Ryan Nunn, Jonathan Riches, and Luke A. Wake

Regulatory Transparency Project

November 7, 2017

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