Spotlight on Occupational Licensing: Occupational licensing blunts competition and boosts inequality

From The Economist: “Every month Debbie Varnam of Shallotte, North Carolina, must pay a doctor’s bill. It is not for treatment. Ms Varnam is a “nurse practitioner”, a nurse with an additional postgraduate degree who is trained to deliver primary care. North Carolina, like many states, does not allow nurse practitioners to offer all the services they are trained to provide. Ms Varnam cannot, for example, prescribe the shoes diabetics often need to prevent the skin on their feet from breaking down. To do so, she needs the approval of a doctor. So Ms Varnam employs one. For about $1,000 a month, the doctor reviews and signs forms that Ms Varnam sends him. The doctor, she says, has a similar arrangement with five other offices…” Read more here.

This recent article hints to one of Dr. Dick M. Carpenter’s most famous research efforts at Institute for Justice, License to Work (2nd ed.), which “is the most comprehensive look to date at licensing burdens for lower-income occupations. It measures burdens for 102 lower-income occupations across all 50 states and the District of Columbia and finds that licensing laws can pose substantial difficulties for job seekers and would-be entrepreneurs. On average, these laws require nearly a year of education and experience, one exam, and over $260 in fees.” Read more here.

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