How Does Occupational Licensing Impact Immigrants?

From a recent working paper out of the Center for Growth & Opportunity: We use two sources of data—the Current Population Survey (CPS) and the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP)—to explore the differences in occupational licensing between natives and immigrants. Each dataset provides unique advantages, allowing us to paint a clearer picture of … Read more

Is Occupational Licensing a Barrier to Interstate Migration?

The question and title of a brand new NBER working paper. The authors find (according to the earlier, ungated version) that “the relative interstate migration rate of state-specific licensed occupations is 36 percent lower than that of others” (pg. 16). The authors explain, We compared the relative within- and between-state migration rates of members of … Read more

The Rise of Occupational Licensing

I’ve written about occupational licensing and its negative effects on economic mobility before. In May 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its first-ever data on certification and licenses, providing the most comprehensive and reliable look to date at occupational licensing in the United States. In 2015, over 22 percent of U.S. workers held an … Read more

Occupational Licensing: Enriching the (Relatively) Few

A new study from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University explores the growth of optician licensing in the U.S. Though licensing is often advocated for in the name of “public safety,” this study finds that strict licensing laws reduce competition and enrich opticians with no measurable benefits for consumers (such as vision insurance or optician … Read more

“The Captured Economy” Site

I picked up Brink Lindsey and Steve Teles’ book The Captured Economy last week at Half-Price Books and added it to my never-ending to-read list. Turns out they’ve created a website based on the book. They describe the site as follows: In November 2017, Oxford University Press published The Captured Economy: How the Powerful Enrich Themselves, … Read more

The DR Book Collection: Catch-Up #4

This is part of the DR Book Collection. I’m once again behind on my book reviews, so here’s a list of the books I’ve read recently, their descriptions, and accompanying videos. Jon D. Levenson, The Love of God: Divine Gift, Human Gratitude, and Mutual Faithfulness in Judaism (Princeton University Press, 2016): “The love of God … Read more

Myths About the 1 Percent

Gallup’s Jonathan Rothwell has provided some important insights about inequality in the U.S., from zoning laws to a lack of competition among the elites. In a recent New York Times piece, he lays out the evidence against certain myths regarding the 1% in a succinct fashion. Here are some “common misconceptions” about income inequality: Trade: … Read more

Be Like Sweden

This is a common rallying cry among Americans (e.g., Bernie Sanders) who are disturbed by income inequality in the U.S. and the supposed excesses of capitalism. So what can the United States learn from Sweden? Swedish author Johan Norberg writes, As a native of Sweden, I must admit this makes me Feel the Bern a bit. … Read more

The Need for Competition

Jason Furman, the chair of the Council of Economic Advisors under President Obama and now a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, argues that “both microeconomic and macroeconomic evidence” point to declining competition: On the micro level, most industries today have fewer players than before. Just think about hospitals or cellphone service … Read more

Without a License

I’ve blogged about occupational licensing before, citing its negative impact on upward mobility. Now Richard Reeves at the Brookings Institution adds his voice to the critics. In a brief post, he lists four ways in which occupational licensing can hinder upward economic mobility: “Since state licensing laws vary widely, a license earned in one state may … Read more