By Bethany Blankley
The latest report calling for occupational licensing reforms joins others in saying that strict licensing requirements cost millions of jobs, billions of dollars in economic costs, and reduced overall GDP . . .
“All too often, the licensing requirements are an obstacle for qualified professionals to compete in these industries, rather than a quality signal to consumers, because the costs to obtain an occupational license are not insignificant,” Wayne Winegarden of the Pacific Research Institute (PRI) said.
The costs of licensing requirements are systemic, he notes, resulting in higher costs for consumers and service providers and less economic opportunity for providers.
“Perhaps worst of all,” he adds, “the service providers with the lowest income are disproportionately harmed because they are less likely to have the ability to devote the time and money necessary to obtain the licenses.
“For many professions, such as interior designers, it is difficult to justify why occupational licenses are necessary at all.”
In a newly released report by PRI, “Occupational Licensing Reform Can Improve the Insurance Markets, Benefit Consumers, and Expand Job Opportunities,” Winegarden argues that fewer licensing requirements could result in higher employment, higher economic output, and a more efficient and equitable allocation of resources.
In some cases, PRI states, licenses are required in multiple states for the same service rather than one license being sufficient to practice nationwide. For example, in 34 states, insurance adjusters must obtain a state license to practice – even if the adjuster is already licensed in another state. Several states do recognize licenses from other states, and adjusters are required to comply with those states’ license application procedures.
Costs of licensing are also measured in time, PRI notes, because of disparate amounts of required training hours mandated by various state agencies and boards. In California, for example, a cosmetologist is required to have 1,600 hours of training, a manicurist 400 hours, an emergency medical technician 160 hours, and a crane operator, none . . .