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Jul 12

Reconsidering Occupational Licensing

For more than 50 years, state and localities have steadily increased the number of occupations requiring a government-issued license. Licensing requirements at one time applied to only 5 percent of occupations, but they have ballooned to reach perhaps 30 percent today. Governments ostensibly adopt licensing schemes to protect consumers by guaranteeing that everyone working in a particular trade has the minimum qualifications necessary to work without injuring the public. In fact, however, most licensing requirements are sought by businesses to protect incumbent members against competition from rivals. Licensing requirements particularly injure certain identifiable groups: husbands and wives of servicemembers, who are denied the opportunity to practice a trade after moving into a new state when their spouse is transferred; the poor, who are forced to pay higher prices for basic services and are denied the opportunity to compete as barbers, cosmetologists, and the like regardless of their qualifications; and immigrants, who are excluded from the workforce despite having the same skills learned in their country of origin that current tradesmen have. Licensing is appropriate for certain occupations – such as diagnosing disease, prescribing medication, or performing surgery – but many licensing requirements today injure the public – the exact opposite of what occupational licensing’s advocates claim.

Join us as we address the problems created by occupational licensing requirements and offer some solutions to them.

More About the Speakers

Keynote Remarks by
The Honorable Mike Lee (R-UT)
United States Senator

The Honorable Ben Sasse (R-NE)
United States Senator

Followed by a Discussion with
Robert Everett Johnson
Elfie Gallun Fellow for Freedom and the Constitution, Institute for Justice

Paul J. Larkin, Jr.
Senior Legal Research Fellow, The Heritage Foundation

Stephen Slivinski
Senior Research Fellow, WP Carey School of Business, Center for the Study of Economic Liberty, Arizona State University

Hosted By

John Malcolm John Malcolm

Director, Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, and the Ed Gilbertson and Sherry Lindberg Gilbertson Senior Legal Fellow Read More