OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING is a throwback to medieval guilds whose demise has been called an “indispensable early step in the rise of freedom in the Western world” By Milton Friedman. It is also growing in the U.S. In 1950, only 5 percent of the workforce was subject to licensing laws. Today, it is over 29 percent. Yet there is little evidence that public health and service quality are enhanced by licensing. Instead, occupational licensing limits work opportunity, redistributes income from lower to higher income individuals, increases the cost of living, limits innovation, and leads to more licensing. Even the Obama White House explored ways to turn back licensing's tide.
"Policy Maker's Guide to Evaluating Proposed and Existing Occupational Licensing Laws" by Byron Schlomach and Vance H. Fried describes the two conditions under which occupational licensing would be proper - real, high risk of physical harm and some type of civil-law or market failure. It describes an alternative to licensing in the form of private certification and recommends that when licensing does exist, education requirements be eliminated (relying on exams and experience only) and licensing boards be reformed.
"The Need to Review and Reform Occupational Licensing in Oklahoma" by Byron Schlomach broadly reviews occupational licensing and makes recommendations on how to review Oklahoma's current licensing laws suggesting regulatory alternatives. Oklahoma is ranked as having the 11th most burdensome licensing laws in the U.S. If Oklahoma reduced its licensed population by 3.3 percentage points through licensing repeals, Oklahomans’ purchasing power would rise by approximately $780 per capita due to a reduction in the cost of living. Click here for a Summary.
"Funeral Director and Embalmer Licensure in Oklahoma" by Byron Schlomach and Baylee Butler briefly describes licensing of the funeral and embalming industry in Oklahoma. It finds no public interest justification for such licensing and recommends that the licensing statute be allowed to expire on its sunset date in 2020, if not repealed sooner.
"Barbering and Cosmetology Licensure in Oklahoma" by Byron Schlomach briefly describes the state of cosmetology and barbering licensing in the state. It recommends that the licensing statute in this area be allowed to expire July 1, 2017 according to its sunset date.