Government regulations are keeping young people down at the expense of established, older generations. Instead of using occupational licensing rules to protect their cronies from competition, lawmakers should reform.
Advocates of occupational licensure argue that it protects the public interest by excluding incompetent and unethical individuals from sensitive jobs. This is certainly the case in some fields, such as health care — but in general, research reveals weak evidence that licensure confers a tangible benefit on public safety or the overall quality of services provided to consumers. What it mainly does is increase costs: Kleiner estimates that licensing increases prices 5 to 33 percent, depending on the occupation and geographic location.
Passed into law with the stated intention of protecting consumers from low-quality service providers, occupational licensing laws in fact hurt consumers by insulating existing businesses from competition and preventing people from using their talents to earn a living in ways that might serve consumers better.