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Licensing Occupations

Ensuring Quality or Restricting Competition?

Morris M. Kleiner

Publication Year: 2006

"Morris Kleiner has produced the most thorough evaluation of the effects of occupational licensing in years, perhaps ever. In a rational world, this book would provoke interest by policymakers and the public in reconsidering where occupational licensing is beneficial for society, and where it is beneficial for those lucky enough to be granted licenses but not for society as a whole." –Alan B. Krueger, Princeton University

Published by: W.E. Upjohn Institute


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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-x

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pp. xi-xii

In writing this book I have benefited from the contributions of many individuals to whom I am most grateful. For most valuable assistance with the research I thank Irma Arteaga, Alexandra Broat, Joan Gieseke, Adrienne Howard, Alexander Lefter, John Linder, Claire Matese, Clint Pecenka, Keith Vargo, Yingying Wang, ...

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pp. xiii-xiv

The licensing of occupations has a long and varied history. Among the oldest evidence of rules governing occupations is the existence of the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi, dating to around 1780 BCE. This body of codes stipulated both the fees patients were to pay for medical services and the punishments practitioners ...

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1. Introduction and Overview

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pp. 1-16

Dentists, doctors, lawyers, fortune tellers, and frog farmers are now licensed occupations in either all or some U.S. states.1 During the early 1950s, only about 4.5 percent of the labor force was covered by licensing laws at the state level. That number had grown to almost 18 percent of the U.S. workforce ...

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2. Development of Occupational Licensing as a Labor Market Institution

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pp. 17-42

As these two statements suggest, there are often conflicting views of the goals and outcomes achieved by occupational licensing. This chapter aims to provide the institutional setting for the theoretical and empirical analysis that follows, building a background for the development of this labor market institution. ...

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3. Quality and the Demand for Occupational Licensing

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pp. 43-64

Although licensing is intended to increase quality of services and reduce the availability of substitutes, the newspaper story above illustrates an unintended consequence of the licensing of dental services, namely using do-it-yourself remedies. The individual highlighted in this newspaper column ...

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4. Licensing, Labor Supply, and Earnings

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pp. 65-96

As this analysis suggests, advocates of “teacher professionalization” seek to not only increase the quality of education, but also to raise the earnings of the members of the occupation through tougher regulations. The task of licensing is generally placed with state licensing boards, which usually consist of individuals ...

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5. State Regulatory Policies and the Economy-wide Impacts of Licensing

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pp. 97-118

This newspaper report shows the potential clash of state licensing policies and religious practices. As more occupations seek to become licensed or to increase statutory requirements and job control, confrontations are likely to occur between groups seeking nonlicensed services and laws restricting those services. ...

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6. Comparing Licensing in the United States and the European Union

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pp. 119-138

As the above quote suggests, the regulation of occupations is perceived to be a major factor in the lack of efficiency in the labor market and a contributor to lagging productivity and high unemployment in Europe. Is this the case, and do the European methods of regulating occupations have different outcomes ...

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7. The Emerging Labor Market Institution of Occupational Licensing

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pp. 139-158

As the above exchange illustrates, the potential conflict between enhancing quality and restricting competition has been at the core of the debate on the efficacy of occupational licensing during the post–World War II era. The goal of this concluding chapter is to provide a further rationale for the existence, ...

Appendix A: Criteria for Regulating Occupations for Legislators and a Questionnaire for Occupations Seeking Regulation in Minnesota

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pp. 159-162

Appendix B: Data Sources

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pp. 163-166

Appendix C: Occupations Analyzed in the United States Using Multivariate Techniques

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pp. 167-168


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pp. 169-180

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The Author

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pp. 181-182

Morris M. Kleiner is a professor at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs and the Industrial Relations Center at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. He is a research associate in Labor Studies at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a visiting scholar in the economic research department ...


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pp. 183-194

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About the Institute

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p. 195

The W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research is a nonprofit research organization devoted to finding and promoting solutions to employment- related problems at the national, state, and local levels. It is an activity of the W.E. Upjohn Unemployment Trustee Corporation, which was established in 1932 ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780880994477
E-ISBN-10: 0880994479
Print-ISBN-13: 9780880992848
Print-ISBN-10: 0880992840

Page Count: 195
Publication Year: 2006

Edition: First

OCLC Number: 228136816
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Licensing Occupations

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Professions -- Licenses -- United States.
  • Occupations -- Licenses -- United States.
  • Quality assurance -- United States.
  • Competition -- United States.
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