Occupational Restrictions and the Quality of Service Received: Some Evidence

Occupational Restrictions and the Quality of Service Received: Some Evidence

This study is the first broad exploratory empirical investigation on the effect on the received quality of service from state licensed occupations. It sought to answer purely factual questions about effects of government restriction. The most striking outcome is that, despite enormous practical and theoretical difficulties and quite dirty data, consistently from occupation to occupation there existed a strong negative association between per capita numbers of an occupation and measures of per capita quality of service received. Further, almost as consistently, restrictive licensing appeared to significantly lower the stocks of licensees. There is, then, evidence from several professions and trades that indicates that restrictive licensing may lower received service quality. We know of no contrary findings. This result can be quite useful in evaluation of present licensing statutes and in contemplation of future acts. Data difficulties as alluded to above were enormous. Equally vexing was the problem of finding suitable quality proxies. It is our belief that much fruitful further work could be done on an occupation by occupation basis in which an in-depth investigation of all of the particularities of the occupation could be explored.

Sidney L. Carroll and Robert J. Gaston

Southern Economic Journal

April 1981

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