I glanced through it and was not impressed.Why would they not show me what are the pros and cons of licensing besides just the cost. Would you not want someone to be able to verify that they have the skills to do what they say they offer. ( I understand that depending on the occupation this may be up for debate, due to verification issues and people gaming the tests, but I bet it becomes paramount where the occupation is related a matter of life or death like a doctor/surgeon.
I am sure there are things where getting a license is ridiculous, but for other areas where it is absolutely necessary.
What I found interesting is that, those with licenses make more money?
It seems if I wanted to lobby an organization to suppress wages, it be at a place such as the " Institute for Justice."
Calculating only the cost is useful information. If you have something that produces a $5B benefit at a $4.5B cost, the proponents will tout a $500M gain without considering whether there is any alternative that can produce the same benefit at a much lower cost.
It points out that there is a very large cost which is an opportunity for optimization.
For example, if hairdressers are licensed due to questions of sanitation, perhaps the same benefit -- or more benefit -- could be achieved through periodic health inspections rather then licensing individual hairdressers.
Perhaps having licenses for electricians is net positive, but the existing licensing system is wasteful or corrupt and makes it artificially more difficult to obtain a license than is optimal.
Perhaps it is useful to license doctors and lawyers, but much of the work the law currently requires them to do is less sensitive and could reasonably be allowed to be done by nurses and paralegals instead.
> What I found interesting is that, those with licenses make more money?
This is the same kind of issue. If you make an extra $5000 but have to spend $5500 in time/money related to keeping your license, you're not making $5000 more, you're losing $500. But your customers are paying $5000 more. And someone who was qualified but couldn't navigate the Kafakaesque licensing system had to take a lower paying job doing something else.
I mean, kind of, but it's not remotely the only relevant piece of information. I could make you a car for $2,000. Would you want to drive it at highway speeds in it? What do you think your chances of survival would be in an accident?
The article makes a point to call out the music therapy case to conjure the specter of seemingly unnecessary regulation leading to regulatory capture, but the vast majority of licensed occupations are licensed because bad shit happened when they weren't. Doctors were quacks. Bridges fell down. Buildings caught fire. Planes fell from the sky. Millions of dollars in damages and countless lives were lost over and over because some greedy sumbitch decided to cut corners or defraud his customers or just didn't think about the consequences of his design or service decisions. These regulations exist because people ruined it.
And I mean, is music therapy dangerous if it's misused? I don't know. I don't even know what music therapy is used to treat! What harm can unethical application music therapy cause? Physiotherapy can easily be unethical. So can psychotherapy and counseling. Why is music therapy harmless, especially if it's been shown to have measurable heath effects? And how can I tell the difference between an actual music therapist whose treatment is based on established practices, and some guy with a blindfold, some headphones, a nice couch, and an mp3 player? Rely on my for-profit insurance company to do that for me, when they have a conflict of interest as well?
Yes, it's difficult to gauge the effectiveness of regulation, especially because you can't tell if what you got for $5,000 in regulation might have been just as effective as if it had cost $500. But arguing that the choice of whether or not to regulate comes down entirely to cost is kind of absurd.
But this isn't what was argued. From the post you replied to
> For example, if hairdressers are licensed due to questions of sanitation, perhaps the same benefit -- or more benefit -- could be achieved through periodic health inspections rather then licensing individual hairdressers.
Regulation has many forms. Licensing is only one of them.
Something like that would be the approach if the goal were to use regulations to maintain good hygiene without imposing undue costs on young people hoping to get into the industry. If the intention of the license is to keep others out of the field of work though, 1400 hours of instruction would be the approach taken.
For that matter, what about retail clerks? They could defraud their customers or steal from their employers. We could license them too. Farmers workers could contaminate food. So could restaurant workers. Janitors who fail to clean properly could allow disease to spread. Groundskeepers operate dangerous equipment. News reporters could misreport the news. Priests could give bad advice -- or worse. To say nothing of legislators.
Just about anyone could screw up their job with severe consequences. So why do we license the people who cut your hair but not the people who make your food? It makes no sense. And before you conclude that the answer should be that we license people who make food, consider the consequences for people who would no longer be able to afford food. (Or a medical care, or legal services, or to have a working toilet.)
The more important something is, the more important it is that we don't price people out of being able to afford it.
You repeat this as an article of faith. Do you have any evidence that licensing increased safety?
If yes, do you have any evidence that the increase in friction for those wanting to enter a field of work incurred less social costs than the risks alleviated from the occupational licensing?
If you're going to massively intervene to restrict economic interactions between consenting adults, at the very least you need a comprehensive, well-sourced argument for the net utility of such restrictions. I've personally never seen such a case made for the centralization approach.
It's all just repeating a narrative as if it's self-evident it's true, which is not giving things as complex and impactful as economics and the laws that govern us the respect they deserve.
> It points out that there is a very large cost which is an opportunity for optimization.
Two things, one: why does everything need to be perfectly optimized? And two: You're assuming that intangible benefits aren't useful. Is money all that matters?
> Andrew Wimer works to make the case for economic liberty, free speech, private property rights and school choice in the court of public opinion.
This is also a politically charged study and this guy has an axe to grind. Sure, tear down everything that protects people from quacks and charlatans - that's the American Dream, after all.
> If you make an extra $5000 but have to spend $5500 in time/money related to keeping your license, you're not making $5000 more, you're losing $500.
I don't see why there's this concern about $500 of inefficiency, this isn't an optimization problem. The benefits to licensing are intangible.
Any sub-optimization is wages, quality-of-life, scientific funding, etc that is being foregone.
>>Sure, tear down everything that protects people from quacks and charlatans - that's the American Dream, after all.
Reputation markets are extremely effective at protecting people from quacks. In any case, to some extent, people have to take responsibility for their own consumer choices. They shouldn't have market choices taken away from them for their own good, by a paternalistic government/voting-base. That's not how a healthy/free society is governed.
The reason why paternalistic centralization isn't functional is that those very same quacks can exploit the public through licensing. They can make false appeals to safety and claims of benefits to argue for highly restrictive licensing rules that cost society far more than they provide in the way of safety, just so that they can enjoy wages inflated from suppressing competition.
Then fighting quacks becomes a political process requiring an election win, and that is all-or-nothing (either you get the quack's representative voted out, or you don't), and doesn't allow the incremental, parallel improvement possible through a decentralized market consisting of millions of consumers making independent consumer choices not subordinate to a single regulatory agency wielding monopoly power.
You mean like vote totals on Reddit, or StackOverflow points?
Reputation obviously has a huge impact on market success, and this effect leads to high quality providers dominating the market overtime.
Probably the best example of this dynamic is eBay. The vast majority of trades are not fraudulent, because consumers rely on the seller ratings as indicators of reliability. Most top sellers have something like 99% positive ratings. The market is pretty much totally unregulated, yet very reliable.
Case A: You get the correct product, it is working.
Case B: Didn't get product, doesn't work, etc...
A gets +1, B gets -1. Simple to judge for 99% of people.
More complex things, like medicine or law or even wiring electrics in a house, the consumer is completely incapable of determining if the service they got is good, because they don't understand it well enough to judge.
This is why reputation systems won't work for anything more complex than ebay. Studies already show doctors get judged mostly by how nice they are. Sure, a reputation system might help you find the nicest doctor, but that isn't whats important right?
For example, an automobile is an extremely complex product where the outcome of a purchase takes years to materialize, and yet we have highly developed market-based mechanisms for ascertaining the quality of automobiles.
Bottom-up decentralized processes disseminate correct information very efficiently. Wikipedia would be a good example of that. Anyone can quickly find a reasonably good answer on almost any issue, of any level of complexity, using a Google search to return the top Wikipedia page on it.
>>Studies already show doctors get judged mostly by how nice they are.
That doesn't tell us much. The quality of doctors may already be assured by the overly stringent licensing process, and price is made a non-factor by insurance/government coverage, so consumers look for signs of empathy, as its the only other relevant variable and the only one that they control.
While there's no indication that reputation markets don't work, there's plenty of evidence that government take-over of industries turns out just as classical economic theory would predict: disastrously.
One major case is healthcare: in every developed country over the last 50 years, government regulation and control of healthcare has massively increased, and this as corresponded with substantial increases in healthcare expenditure as a percentage of GDP.
In the US for example, the number of hospital administrators increased 3,200% between 1975 and 2010, compared to a 150% increase in physicians, and this increasing inefficiency is due to an increasing number of regulations:
Intangible benefits are difficult to quantify, but that's no excuse for assigning their value as infinity and assuming they justify any cost. Or for wasting resources unnecessarily.
You could try to estimate the intangible value in QALYs or some other made up thing, but it's usually best to just estimate it in monetary terms, because money is fungible and well-understood. If you lose $5000, that's $5000 you don't have to spend on fighting climate change or education or cancer research or whatever other productive use it could have been put towards if you hadn't wasted it.
And if you get $5000 in intangible value by spending $4500, you're still wasting $4000 if the same intangible value could have been produced by spending $500.
Inspections with out a license would be unenforceable. If they fail an inspection, you revoke their license, requiring them to shut down. If there is no license to revoke, there is nothing stopping them from continuing to operate.
You'd probably want something more granular than SOC code and age to identify the difference between the premium licensed professionals earn for having their document and the premium they earn for also being on average more experienced and capable professionals performing more specialised and difficult work than unlicensed ones in their field.
But then the study is far more about headlines than anything else. Disappointed they weren't bold enough to note that the coefficient on "married" was similar in size to the coefficient on "licensed" and use the same dataset to argue that "U.S. Consumers and the Economy Loses Billions to Professionals Being Married"!
I disagree. The report is eplicitly about the costs of licensing. It's not trying to be an all encompassing and comprehensive study of all possible pros and cons. Let those benefits be the focus of another study.
"Hey $accountant, I need you to write up a report of all business expenditures."
"Sorry boss, that wouldn't be fair. All I'll tell you is that we made a net profit of X million. I don't want to tell only one side of the story"
So actually much closer to using the compensation figures from your accountant to argue "this is how much our business is losing from having a sales team"
Your example about sin taxes is wrong. The whole point of a sin tax is to shift the supply curve to the left and let the market come back to equilibrium so as to reduce equilibrium quantity. Sin taxes wouldn't work if they didn't move the market to an equilibrium.
You may think that, in this case, the cost of distortions in the market caused by licensing is morally good and a net positive for society. That is an entirely reasonable position to take. But you cant then pretend like those inneficiencies don't exist by playing word games.
What we don't have is the proper detail to allow me to make up my mind which cases licensing makes sense, and in which cases licensing doesn't. Sure, licensing has costs. That doesn't tell me anything, because licensing may protect me from bad work quality, which also can cost money, or even possibly be a safety hazard (eg the shoddy electrician that didn't ground a light and nearly electrocuted another worker as a result in the Angie's List piece).
I am fine with the position that occupational licenses aren't necessary for careers where licensing doesn't add any value. But my hunch is that in many careers, licensing adds value overall. The posted piece did nothing to change my position on this.
The state of Georgia (and likely many others) requires chiropractors to have a license.
Please explain how the State is uniquely qualified to determine the competence of a practitioner of junk science?
Chiropractic remedies have a long history of being questionable.
Wikipedia provides many sources:
> Systematic reviews of this research have not found evidence that chiropractic manipulation is effective, with the possible exception of treatment for back pain. A critical evaluation found that collectively, spinal manipulation was ineffective at treating any condition
> It is frequently associated with mild to moderate adverse effects, with serious or fatal complications in rare cases.
It's just assumed that most people are honest about their work and the who aren't will be swiftly punished. But in most cases, it's the opposite: the honest people get driven out because scammers can promise the world for a penny because they know they will never deliver.
People were fed up with being swindled left and right, so they decided to get the government to step in. Obviously, they've been highly successful because Libertarians can't even imagine the world as it was 100 years ago.
There may have been good reasons for certain licensing laws 100 years ago but that doesn't mean those reasons are still valid today.
Although if your point is "some regulations are better than others" I definitely agree with you.
This is slowly getting chipped away though. There's more and more national internet filters, even in relatively free places like UK. There's GDPR, DMCA, SESTA/FOSTA, etc.
Some (most? all?) US states require not only a degree but "ongoing education" every other year that can amount to a not insignificant chunk of wages. It's pretty awful from those I know in the field.
My wife worked in the pharmacy field and had those requirements. The courses were mostly made by the drug companies and were thinly disguised marketing material.
Ultimately these systems are not about quality, they're about restricting free market in the labor pool to keep prices in a trade high.
In California you need a license to cut hair (Many European countries are actually more free in this aspect compared to the US). However, you are exempt if you only shampoo hair!
To get a license you need to enroll in a program that takes at least 9 months, and you need to complete 1,600 hours of training...
...to cut hair.
"In August 2010, for example, a team of heavily armed Orange County, Florida, sheriff’s deputies raided several black- and Hispanic-owned barbershops in the Orlando area. More raids followed in September and October. The Orlando Sentinel reported that police held barbers and customers at gunpoint and put some in handcuffs, while they turned the shops inside out. The police raided a total of nine shops and arrested thirty-seven people. By all appearances, these raids were drug sweeps. Shop owners told the Sentinel that police asked them where they were hiding illegal drugs and weapons. But in the end, thirty-four of the thirty-seven arrests were for “barbering without a license,” a misdemeanor for which only three people have ever served jail time in Florida. The most disturbing aspect of the Orlando raids was that police didn’t even attempt to obtain a legal search warrant. They didn’t need to, because they conducted the raids in conjunction with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Despite the guns and handcuffs, under Florida law these were licensure inspections, not criminal searches, so no warrants were necessary."
(Radley Balko, "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces")
Here's another interesting case that I found about from the book, but which was notable enough to even get its own Wikipedia article. You be the judge of how quintessentially American that is:
For me, the most scary part of it was the final words of the person responsible for it: "Quite frankly, we'd do it again. Tonight."
Another interesting thing was the long-term consequences. Because the target of the raid was a well-off, politically connected individual, they used their clout to mobilize support for a bill that required Maryland to produce an annual report on how its SWAT operates - where it is deployed, legal authority (arrest warrant, search warrant, exigent circumstances etc), what kind of crime, if any, it was targeting, and whether entry was forced or not. There's some eye-opening stuff there, like the fact that most SWAT deployments are serving search warrants for non-violent crimes, but they use forced entry more often than not:
But even more interesting was the reaction of law enforcement agencies (and their unions) in the state to this bill - they were all adamantly opposed to it. It passed anyway, but only with a 5-year sunset clause as a concession; it was never renewed.
Do you really need 1,600 hours of training to learn how to sanitise a pair of scissors? Does that training actually make people less likely to stab someone in the head? Are there alternative routes for hairdressers to demonstrate their competence?
To my mind, it seems far more reasonable for these issues to be addressed through routine inspections and the prompt investigation of complaints. Qualifications may provide supporting evidence for the competence of a practitioner, but they are neither necessary nor sufficient.
Maybe a big chunk of it is an apprenticeship? You learn the skills over a few weeks and then spend the rest of the year practicing before you're fully licensed?
Ever try doing a professional hairstyle? It takes several hundred hours just to learn one. It takes several hours alone just to perform one, many times. I used to be a hair model. I had to sit in a chair in front of about 6,000 students at a casino while the designer explained his haircut to them. That was five hours alone, and my hair hadn't been touched. The next four hours were spent actually working on my hair.
However, very few people go to a barber for a shave anymore. It used to be that most people would go to a barber for a shave, and shaving yourself was unusual. Since the advent of the safety razor, cartridge razor, and electric razor, it's the other way around, where it is unusual to go to a barber for a shave. But in many states, training on shaving is a large part of the training for barbers.
In fact, it also used to be the case that barbers were the surgeons as well, though I don't know how much of that time overlapped with the licensing era.
I don't know how much of the remaining licensing process for modern barbers has to do with actual safety concerns, or is just inherited from the times of barbers being surgeons or doing the majority of shaving with straight razors.
That said, these licenses are typically about $10 and can be completed by online website in about an hour. I would expect something similar could work for hair cutting as well, but probably not for all the more exotic things like hair dying.
The restaurants require licensing out the ass, and I know there are ABC (alcohol handling) certifications required for servers, but cooks don't. At least one person (typically a manager) needs to be ServSafe certified, but that's not a requirement for every worker.
Meanwhile, a hairdresser must be licensed before they can step into a salon and do work. My sister and wife both worked in the industry, and I promise you they would both scoff at the idea of a 1 hour form/test for someone cutting hair. There's a ton of hygiene related things that they need to know to prevent disease transmission from cutting and handling hair daily.
You're plenty free to cut your own hair and that of your friends and family without a license. And you can drive your family around with minimal licensing. But there's a threshold you cross where licensing becomes mandatory.
I can drive a car in public and kill other people, not only my own family. Considering how safe cars are today it's even more likely my family will be safe while I kill other people.
Granted, these requirements loosen after a person reaches a certain age. But they still need to demonstrate an ability to drive and knowledge of the rules of the road before being licensed.
A CDL takes a lot training to earn, and you have to demonstrate a clean driving record for the previous 10 years.
Driving is one of the most dangerous things that ordinary people engage in. You're hundreds of times more likely to kill someone driving than doing any other activity, by virtue of the relative deadliness of motor vehicle accidents, and how much driving the ordinary person does.
That you need 1,600 hours of instruction to cut hair in California, far in excess of what any jurisdiction requires to get a license to drive, is the most blatant demonstration of the injustice of occupational licensing.
We should also really encourage people to wash their hands because that's super important, especially in environments like hospitals and daycares.
If licensing were merely focused on knowing your own limitations, avoiding harm, and transparency rather than being all mixed up with general education and sometimes extremely overbroad vocational training that is only tenuously connection to the actual vocation... I'd be less skeptical.
Obviously simply dumping licensing and having a snake-oil free for all is probably not an improvement. But the choice shouldn't need to be "no regulation at all" and "status quo regulation".
Additionally, software engineers that work on self-driving cars, rockets, any healthcare systems, etc, etc, etc?
No, you don't.
And software developers working on anything that handles personal data.
Most of their income comes from dying, high-lights, etc, which involve applying harsh chemicals to another person's hair. They need to understand what can be mixed safely and how to identify issues. Plus there's the whole sanitation aspect.
Even the person who wipes your butt in a hospital has more training than a stylist.
- 10 hours of training on state law
- 75 hours of training on infection control
- 200 hours of training on chemical hair control
- another 1,265 hours on other topics (shampooing, hair shaping, hair coloring, styling, business skills, etc.).
Perhaps those first three areas are important perquisites to being licensed, but the extra 1200 hours seem like something the market could sort out without being a prerequisite for receiving a license.
In my personal opinion, I'm happy to rely on the reputation of a branded salon/barber shop/individual stylist. I've had both good hair cuts and bad hair cuts from state certified barbers. As far as I can tell the state doesn't provide any value to me other than limiting my choices. To the extent we might be concerned about poor people cutting people's hair without the state's permission, and doing so with non-optimum sanitary practices... well... poor people are already doing this and it doesn't seem to be causing any real public health crisis. I say we give it a shot in some locales and see what happens.
If you would like your market to be more than just those clients that request an Army buzz cut, you need to know those differences. My hair, for instance, looks terrible if given a straight chop with scissors. Because it's wavy and thick, it needs "thinning" all throughout its length to make it lie flat. Enforcing practicing on mannequins how to do just that without ruining someone's actual hair seems reasonable to me.
The hours requirement could be scaled down, and the process more streamlined certainly, but the point of going to cosmetology school isn't really to learn how to style hair, although that happens, it's to pass state boards. Then you can assistant in a salon and learn how to do something economically useful.
So, licensing does ensures the minimum quality.
The next time you need a contractor for work, ask for his license and a certificate of insurance. Using a search engine, confirm that the phone number on the COI corresponds to the insurance company. Once verified, call the insurance company and simply tell the agent who you are and that you're verifying the account.
On an estimate for thousands of dollars of roofing work, I caught a property manager colluding with a handyman acting as a roofer with the intent of defrauding a condominium association of thousands of dollars. The license # provided was years expired. Further, the insurance company had no record of the customer. It was a complete fraud.
They've successfully gotten a number of these stupid licenses struck down. In terms of my perceived ROI for my donations, IJ is one of my favorite/most worthwhile organizations that I support. They're also in Charity Navigator's top 1% of nonprofits. I highly recommend donating! (https://ij.org/support/)
Can you share which ones?
Eyebrow threading in Louisiana: https://ij.org/case/louisiana-threading/
Casket sales in Alabama (after the attention on the case, the AL legislature changed the law): https://ij.org/case/alabama-caskets/
Hair braiding in Iowa (after attention on the case, the governor used line-item veto to remove the offending provisions in a bill): https://ij.org/press-release/victory-african-style-hair-brai...
Hair braiding in Arkansas (after attention on the case, legislators sponsored new legislation to change the treatment of hair braiding under the law): https://ij.org/case/arkansas-hair-braiding/
Hair braiding in Washington (the Department of Licensing changed its rules in response to being sued): https://ij.org/case/washington-african-hair-braiding/
Animal massage therapy in Arizona: https://ij.org/case/azmassage/
Hair braiding in Texas (struck down in Federal court and then fully deregulated by the legislature afterward): https://ij.org/case/txbraiding/
That's the last 5 years or so of won cases just on this issue. They also take on civil asset forfeiture and legislated monopolies (such as taxi companies that have been given an exclusive license to a city), among a few other issues.
Is licensure the new oppression meta?
Why It's Illegal To Braid Hair Without A License
Here's another article I recommend from The Atlantic last year which touches on this topic. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/11/the-rig...
Why does someone who never uses a straight razor ever in their hair stylist career need to learn all about straight razor shaving? Why does a barber that doesn't apply or even possess any hair dye agents need to learn about hair dyes? The license could easily be split into categories, split into multiple licenses or otherwise be examined, but instead it is all packed into one license that is much harder to get without having money pouring out of your ass already to pay for 'schooling'.
I have a beauty school in my town, it doesn't make better stylists, it just pumps them all out of their money and then throws them to the wind with their piece of paper. They just followed some directions on a piece of paper and didn't majorly fuck up, they don't actually have to understand what or why they do certain things and definitely don't need to be skilled. "directions: Shave some hair and clean the razor properly" "Oh wow I managed to do it a single time, now im qualified for it! (yea right) Now I just gotta do 1000 hours of unrelated highlights and buzz cuts, and regardless of quality or fuckups, I still get my license!" Yeah some people do study and become good stylists, the majority of them however are just passed through because they are paid to do so.
When it comes down to it, the only thing licensure does is set a bar to keep out the extreme boneheads . And that is necessary for sure - I've been around long enough to see how many indiligent jokers there are in the world. But I still philosophically believe everybody has an inherent right to do their own work.
I came across a court case a while ago - Meyer vs Nantucket - of a guy who was building his own house and did his own plumbing in Massachusetts . The ensuing saga reads like scenes from the movie Brazil. He made it all the way to the state supreme court with photo documentation of how the plumbing met code, and how the Nantucket plumbing inspector was not following their own internal regulations. Meyer even found and hired a licensed plumber  as an independent inspector. and he found no defects. The court stayed logical through two rounds of appeals, and then suddenly nosedived into nonsense about local boards having ultimate authority of all interpretation, and kicked the case back down - seemingly having gotten the memo that if they were to do the right thing, the status quo would be disrupted. Then the town fiefdom forced him to pay a plumber to destroy the entirety of the work he did and have it redone - basically pure vindictive punishment for thinking he could rock the boat in the first place. This is the attitude that every bureaucratic institution develops after they are taken for granted.
The code bodies operate in the same rent-seeking manner. The National Electrical Code - law that we are all bound by - used to be up as a PDF on public.resource.org, until they were bullied through the legal system into taking it down. Now it is only available from magnet URLs. In a just world, it would be published prominently on states' own websites alongside the rest of the law.
 And just in case you don't know, work being done "to code" is a bare minimum. It implies little about the actual quality or longevity of said work.
 It's fine to do your own electrical, although many inspectors still become hostile. But plumbing is strictly verboten.
 Retired, from out of the area. Because any licensed plumber still earning their living would not want to get on the shit list.
There's also the "license fee" treadmill, where the state sees an easy way to get more money from a captive audience by raising fees. For example in California this year the license renewal fee for being a locksmith went from $45 to $500 every 3 years, and it's still just a paper card they mail you that certifies that you sent them a form and a fingerprint livescan once, usually many years ago.
I'm trying to find the source for the 20% or even 30% figure for jobs requiring licenses. The trail leads back to a book published by the Upjohn Institute. The New York Times cites that. That book makes the percentage claim. But when they list the occupations requiring licensing, their toplist is "Accountants, doctors, dentists, elementary school teachers, secondary school teachers, lawyers, hairdressers and cosmetologists". Those aren't 20% or 30% of the workforce.
The book is paywalled, but there is a free intro. Table 1.1 seems to be where the lobbyists and the press are getting their numbers. The source for that data is "The data for the 1980s are from Kleiner (1990) tabulations, and new estimates were developed for 2000." Kleiner is the author of the book. He's citing himself.
I wonder if he's including driving licenses. Looks like you have to pay to find out.
Imagine if liberal-leaning research papers shared on HN were immediately accosted with comments claiming the publication to be a "front" for George Soros. Not helpful.
"Now, thanks to a new report from the Institute for Justice, University of Minnesota economics professor Dr. Morris Kleiner and economist Dr. Evgeny Vorotnikov, those costs have been quantified both nationally and in 36 separate states."
The Institute of Justice:
"Since 1991, IJ has come to the aid of individuals who want to do the simple things every American has the right to do—including own property, start and grow a business, speak freely about commerce or politics, and provide their children with a good education—but can’t because they find the government in their way.
"The Institute for Justice combines cutting-edge litigation, sophisticated media relations, strategic research, boots-on-the-ground advocacy and much more to fight on behalf of those individuals who are denied their constitutional rights."
In many cases, the certification process for therapy is such a time and money sink that people will become priests in small "religions" as a legal workaround to taking 1yr+ of archaic training.
How much depression, suicide and drug-abuse is caused by the desire to tightly control commercial human contact and the resultant dead-weight loss of people not getting enough of it?
Unless there is a pressing public health threat from an activity (e.g. someone who doesn't know how to drive, operating a motor vehicle on public roads), society should think very long and hard before restricting people from engaging in that activity.
If there is going to be licensing, it should be limited to restricting how people can market their skills, where only those licensed can market themselves as licensed. This gives quality-conscious consumers an easy way to identify licensed practitioners, while giving those who value affordability over safety the option of unlicensed services.
Why should anyone need a license to help people choose better foods to eat?
1: I'm not saying that licensing is the only way. If you want a list of a half-dozen others, consult your local libertarian.
It seems to be a particular hobby horse of theirs.
Which is weird, why are a bunch of oil guys obsessed with hairdresser licensing?
Sure, there exist conspiracy theories of mustache-twirling malevolent villains in the Kochs wanting the extra profits from deregulation or in Soros desiring to short the currency of a destabilized countries. But it is disingenuous to begin one's speculation and curiosity with the assumption that those theories of malevolence are true.
But yes, perhaps I'm just spreading conspiracy theories and their obsession with hairdresser licenses has the purest of idealistic motives.
To be upfront about my own assumptions: I totally believe that licensing in general is nonsense.
But that's not the point! Just because something agrees with our preconceived notions doesn't mean the evidence holds any water whatsoever.
And this piece has a few classic "terrible science reporting" features:
- It wildly overstates the scope of the original research, making it sound way more broadly applicable that it really is. The research doesn't actually appear to have a solid method for quantifying costs at all, and it doesn't appear to have a method for quantifying benefits either. Sounding like your using statistics https://ij.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Licensure_Report_W... doesn't make your data any more real-world impactful. The data does appear to reasonably quantify the amount of licensing, and there are some indications as to how much that affects labor costs. That's pretty much it.
- It omits key facts that would lead readers to critically examine the evidence, such as the fact that it was funded (at least in part) by an advocacy group (John Templeton Foundation) dedicated to market freedom, and it was performed and published by a thinktank similarly dedicated towards deregulation (Institute for Justice). That doesn't automatically invalidate the research, but insofar as the researchers and publishers have considerable leeway in choosing methods, areas of study and what to publish, you should expect considerable bias - and the fact that their analysis supports their political stance certainly doesn't suggest otherwise.
- It's published by and appears to target those who likely already hold similar beliefs; i.e.: this appears to be part of the trend to live in your own bubble.
- I don't think they actually linked to the original research? I'm assuming it's https://ij.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Licensure_Report_W...?
If anything, the lack of convincing evidence despite all of that and despite my own assumptions leads me to question if this belief really is valid. But I'm still betting it is, and that this kind of thing is simply hard to measure with means like this.
TL;DR: unconvincing, but at least honest-looking research that tries to extrapolate some solid-looking questionnaire into something totally different, which was then regurgitated into trash journalism designed to deceive, not inform. I don't read a lot of Forbes, but clearly they're a publisher to be wary of.
This is a PERFECT example of one of the things I try to teach students about statistics and science communication.
The Forbes articles wildly WILDLY overstates the relatively modest conclusions of the paper. Academic papers take small, almost microscopic steps for a reason - each step in a chain of logic needs to be heavily and clearly supported by evidence.
Often they say things like X is correlated with Y and then someone else (intentionally for clicks or from a lack of understanding) implies causality and turns conditional observation into absolutist pronouncements.
Academic studies are almost always exercises in nuance...if a news article is not the same don't trust it.
Somehow, the midwifery profession was able to exist for thousands of years before this professional organization existed. I am sure it will be fine without it. The administration, on the other hand....
Historically, women frequently died from child birth. Modern medicine has made child birth significantly safer for both mother and child. These advancements need to be disseminated to individuals, and society has a need to determine whether or not a person knows the latest scientifically sound techniques.
Professional licensing fulfills this role.
Of course, it's more expensive to hire a person whose spent years training. But without some verification, there's going to be a race to the bottom as untrained individuals undercut the competition. And yes, it does act as a barrier to entry for people who could do a great job.
But, the risks of hiring an poorly trained midwife are much more serious than those of hiring an untrained software developer. Thus, society is okay with having unlicensed people writing software but isn't okay with unlicensed people treating them for injuries.
This is pretty close to Survivorship Bias (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivorship_bias). Outcomes of midwifery of yore is no different than present midwifery if you ignore the fatalities and only focus on successful deliveries.