NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Occupations: A Hierarchy of Regulatory Options

September 28, 2016

NCPA Senior Fellow Thomas Hemphill writes for Cato Institute's Regulation Magazine:

In July 2015, the Obama administration released a first of-its-kind report from any White House: a study on occupational licensing. The report gained significant attention because of the novelty of its subject for aWhite House report, but also for its rather skeptical view of licensing. Mary Kissel, for example, on her July 29, 2015, WSJ live Opinion Journal program, said incredulously: "Stop the presses. The White House released a report yesterday that says a certain type of regulation kills jobs. The Obama White House said this?"

For many years, the Institute for Justice, the Cato Institute, state policy think tanks, and others have worked to reform licensing laws that amount to little more than a government permission slip to work. But in recent years, the issue finally caught fire among Republican and Democrat policymakers, culminating in the White House report. after reviewing the costs and benefits of licensing -- with the former far outweighing the latter -- the report offered a series of recommendations for howstates should reform their occupational licensing policies and policymaking. The most significant of those recommendations, and likely the most realistic to implement, is a menu of regulatory options that are less onerous than licensing, including "certification (whether private or government-administered), registration, bonding and insurance, and inspection, among others."

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