Licensing Occupations: Ensuring Quality or Restricting Competition?

Sep 15, 2006
B-339 Rayburn House Office Building Lunch Provided.


Morris M. Kleiner
Professor of Public Policy and Industrial Relations
Humphrey Institute, University of Minnesota

Click here to view Dr. Kleiner's powerpoint presentation. 

Consider yourself lucky.  Nearly two out of ten US workers need a license to work in their profession.  That number includes doctors, fortune tellers, bee keepers, and even shampoo assistants.  Depending on the state, a license may be required for up to 30 percent of all jobs (California) or as little as 6 percent (Mississippi).  One might assume that these requirements have led to an increase in quality of service at reasonable prices.  Yet have they?

To address this very important question, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University will host Professor Morris Kleiner, Professor of Public Policy and Industrial Relations, Humphrey Institute, at the University of Minnesota in the latest installment of the Capitol Hill Campus Book Forum.  Dr. Kleiner will discuss the material from his latest book, Licensing Occupations: Ensuring Quality or Restricting Competition?  As a labor economist, Dr. Kleiner has spent much of his career studying the affects of occupational licensing.  Through an application of economic theory and up-to-date research, he will weigh the costs against the benefits of occupational licensing.  Questions to be explored include:

  • What can economics teach us about the likely effects of occupational licensing requirements on workers and consumers?
  • What do state trends indicate for the future of occupational licensing?  What are the implications on the Federal level?
  • What alternatives, if any, are there to occupational licensing?  How does certification affect licensing?