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Was Occupational Licensing Good for Minorities? A Critique of Marc Law and Mindy Marks

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Author Info

  • Daniel B. Klein
  • Benjamin Powell
  • Evgeny S. Vorotnikov

Abstract

A 2009 Journal of Law and Economics article by Marc T. Law and Mindy S. Marks suggests that during the period 1890-1950 occupational licensing did not tend to affect blacks and women adversely. The biggest problem with the paper is that a Census-reported practitioner in a licensing state is not necessarily licensed—a fact never mentioned by Law and Marks—and yet that fact should greatly affect their treatment of the data and results. Information about plumbers in Maryland reveals that in treating the Census number of black plumbers as licensed black plumbers—as Law and Marks implicitly do—they overstate the actual number by 4700 percent. It is therefore unsurprising that they do not find plumbing licensing to have negatively impacted blacks. The paper suffers from several other problems, as well, including: Law and Marks lump certification in with licensing; there is a sample selection bias in their method for including an occupation in the study; several of their findings are based on extremely low participation by blacks and women; they treat women as the “minority” in the field of nursing. Because of these and other problems, including the results of falsification tests, we judge their conclusions to be highly doubtful.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Econ Journal Watch in its journal Econ Journal Watch.

Volume (Year): 9 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 210-233

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Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:9:y:2012:i:3:p:210-233

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Related research

Keywords: Occupational licensure; licensing; race; gender; discrimination;

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References

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  1. E. Frank Stephenson & Erin E. Wendt, 2009. "Occupational Licensing: Scant Treatment in Labor Texts," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 6(2), pages 181-194, May.
  2. Klein, Daniel B., 2014. "Knowledge and Coordination: A Liberal Interpretation," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199355327.
  3. Leland, Hayne E, 1979. "Quacks, Lemons, and Licensing: A Theory of Minimum Quality Standards," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1328-46, December.
  4. Law, Marc T. & Kim, Sukkoo, 2005. "Specialization and Regulation: The Rise of Professionals and the Emergence of Occupational Licensing Regulation," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(03), pages 723-756, September.
  5. Morris M. Kleiner, 2006. "Licensing Occupations: Ensuring Quality or Restricting Competition?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number lo.
  6. Pagliero, Mario, 2011. "What is the objective of professional licensing? Evidence from the US market for lawyers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 473-483, July.
  7. David Barker, 2008. "Ethics and Lobbying: The Case of Real Estate Brokerage," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 80(1), pages 23-35, June.
  8. Maya N. Federman & David E. Harrington & Kathy J. Krynski, 2006. "The Impact of State Licensing Regulations on Low-Skilled Immigrants: The Case of Vietnamese Manicurists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 237-241, May.
  9. Marc T. Law & Mindy S. Marks, 2009. "Effects of Occupational Licensing Laws on Minorities: Evidence from the Progressive Era," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(2), pages 351-366, 05.
  10. Shirley Svorny, 2004. "Licensing Doctors: Do Economists Agree?," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 1(2), pages 279-305, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Marc T. Law & Mindy S. Marks, 2012. "Occupational Licensing and Minorities: A Reply to Klein, Powell, and Vorotnikov," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 9(3), pages 234-255, September.

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