NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Occupational Licensing Reform: Walk, Don't Run

March 2, 2016

In 1952, less than 5 percent of U.S. workers were required to be licensed to legally perform their jobs. By 2008, that number had risen to 29 percent, writes NCPA Senior Fellow Thomas Hemphill. Advocates of occupational licensure argue that it protects the public interest by excluding incompetent and unethical individuals from sensitive jobs. But in general, research reveals weak evidence that licensure confers a tangible benefit on public safety or the overall quality of services provided to consumers. What it mainly does is increase costs.


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