Monday, August 27, 2007

Sweet Deals

John Fund looks at state certification boards and the question of whether they are out to protect the consumer or restrict competition:

Reason Foundation analyst Adam Summers has written a new study of occupational licensing (available here) that catalogues some of the absurd requirements to get occupational licenses. Does a hair braider really need hundreds of hours of instruction in all aspects of cosmetology, hardly any of which he will ever use? Is it essential to the well-being of young children that directors of day-care centers possess master's degrees? What's the point of refusing to license a car service unless it has at least 10 cars?

Some states require licenses or credentials for all manner of jobs, while others seem to get along just fine with a much more targeted list. California has been burdened for years with an uncompetitive business climate, and part of the reason is that it requires licenses for 177 different job categories. Next door, Arizona licenses only 72 job categories and Nevada only 95. No wonder job growth is much higher in those states.

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