Governments often create regulations that protect particular firms, industries, and occupations from would-be competitors. These regulations are referred to as “barriers to entry” because they keep some from entering into a market. One of the most prevalent and pervasive barriers is “occupational licensing.” The licensing of occupations is ostensibly intended to promote service quality and protect public health, but evidence suggests these laws fail to provide these benefits. More often, licensing raises the price of goods and services and locks workers out of meaningful and rewarding employment.
The research on this page delves into the effects of barriers to entry generally, with a specific focus on occupational licensing, and offers less intrusive and counterproductive methods for ensuring product quality and public health.