Occupational Licensing: Scant Treatment in Labor Texts
According to the Council of State Governments, more than 800 occupations are subject to licensing requirements in at least one state. It is, therefore, not surprising that a 2006 Gallup survey found that 29 percent of the workforce was required to hold a license from a government agency. Licensing affects a much larger percentage of workers than either the minimum wage or unionization. In 2003, less than 3 percent of hourly workers were paid the minimum wage. As for unionization, we reproduce Figure 1 from Kleiner and Krueger; licensing affects about two and a half times more workers than unionization. Licensing is one of the most important forms of labor regulation, yet textbooks in labor economics give it scant attention. We identified five undergraduate labor economics textbooks currently in print…All but one have been published in four or more editions.