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Specialization and Regulation: The Rise of Professionals and the Emergence of Occupational Licensing Regulation

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  • LAW, MARC T.
  • KIM, SUKKOO

Abstract

This paper explores the origins and effects of occupational licensing regulation in late nineteenth and early twentieth century America. Was licensing regulation introduced to limit competition in the market for professional services at the expense of efficiency? Or was licensing adopted to reduce informational asymmetries about professional quality? To investigate these hypotheses, we analyze the determinants of licensing legislation and the effect of licensing on entry into eleven occupations. We also examine the impact of medical licensing laws on entry into the medical profession, physician earnings, mortality rates, and the incidence of medical malpractice. We believe that, at least for the Progressive Era, the evidence is more consistent with the asymmetric information hypothesis than the industry capture hypothesis.
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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:65:y:2005:i:03:p:723-756_00
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Leffler, Keith B, 1978. "Physician Licensure: Competition and Monopoly in American Medicine," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 165-186, April.
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    10. 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 1328-1346, December.
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    13. Samuel H. Preston, 1996. "American Longevity: Past, Present, and Future," Center for Policy Research Policy Briefs 7, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
    14. Haas-Wilson, Deborah, 1986. "The Effect of Commercial Practice Restrictions: The Case of Optometry," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 165-186, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Martha Starr, 2012. "Contributions of Economists to the Housing-Price Bubble," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(1), pages 143-172.
    2. Evans, R. & Guinnane, T.W., 2006. "Reputational Externality and Self-Regulation," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0628, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    3. Meehan, Brian, 2015. "The impact of licensing requirements on industrial organization and labor: Evidence from the U.S. private security market," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 113-121.
    4. Catherine Schaumans & Frank Verboven, 2008. "Entry and regulation: evidence from health care professions," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(4), pages 949-972.
    5. Price V. Fishback & Rebecca Holmes & Samuel Allen, 2008. "Lifting the Curse of Dimensionality: Measures of the Labor Legislation Climate in the States During the Progressive Era," NBER Working Papers 14167, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Zeynep K. Hansen & Marc T. Law, 2008. "The Political Economy of Truth-in-Advertising Regulation during the Progressive Era," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(2), pages 251-269, May.
    7. Daniel Carpenter, 2014. "Accounting for Financial Innovation and Borrower Confidence in Financial Rule Making: Analogies from Health Policy," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(S2), pages 331-349.
    8. Pagliero, Mario, 2013. "The impact of potential labor supply on licensing exam difficulty," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 141-152.
    9. David Skarbek, 2010. "Restricting Reconstruction: Occupational Licensing and Natural Disasters," Chapters,in: The Political Economy of Hurricane Katrina and Community Rebound, chapter 5 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    10. Franck, Raphaƫl & Johnson, Noel D. & Nye, John V.C., 2014. "From internal taxes to national regulation: Evidence from a French wine tax reform at the turn of the twentieth century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 77-93.
    11. Mario Pagliero, 2007. "The Impact of Potential Labor Supply on Licensing Exam Difficulty in the US Market for Lawyers," CHILD Working Papers wp19_08, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
    12. 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, May.
    13. Brian Meehan & Bruce Benson, 2015. "The occupations of regulators influence occupational regulation: evidence from the US private security industry," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 162(1), pages 97-117, January.
    14. Marek Zapletal, 2017. "The Effects of Occupational Licensing Evidence from Detailed Business-Level Data," Working Papers 17-20, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    15. repec:bla:indres:v:56:y:2017:i:4:p:640-661 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Morris M. Kleiner & Richard M. Todd, 2007. "Mortgage Broker Regulations That Matter: Analyzing Earnings, Employment, and Outcomes for Consumers," NBER Working Papers 13684, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. repec:jpe:journl:1393 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Matthew Chesnes & Weijia (Daisy) Dai & Ginger Zhe Jin, 2014. "Banning Foreign Pharmacies from Sponsored Search: The Online Consumer Response," NBER Working Papers 20088, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Brenton Peterson & Sonal Pandya & David Leblang, 2014. "Doctors with borders: occupational licensing as an implicit barrier to high skill migration," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 160(1), pages 45-63, July.
    20. Morris M. Kleiner & Richard M. Todd, 2009. "Mortgage Broker Regulations That Matter: Analyzing Earnings, Employment, and Outcomes for Consumers," NBER Chapters,in: Studies of Labor Market Intermediation, pages 183-231 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Chan-Kang, Connie & Pardey, Philip G. & Smith, Vincent H., 2006. "The Evolution of Economics Clubs: 1777-2000," Staff Papers 14135, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
    22. Marc T. Law & Mindy S. Marks, 2013. "From Certification To Licensure: Evidence From Registered And Practical Nurses In The United States, 1950-1970," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 10(2), pages 177-198, August.
    23. Dean Baker, 2016. "Working Paper: The Compensation of Highly Paid Professionals: How Much Is Rent?," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2016-13, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
    24. Tanya Wanchek, 2010. "Dental Hygiene Regulation and Access to Oral Healthcare: Assessing the Variation across the US States," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 48(4), pages 706-725, December.
    25. Daniel B. Klein & Benjamin Powell & Evgeny S. Vorotnikov, 2012. "Was Occupational Licensing Good for Minorities? A Critique of Marc Law and Mindy Marks," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 9(3), pages 210-233, September.

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    JEL classification:

    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets
    • K2 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law

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