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Occupational Licensing and Minorities: A Reply to Klein, Powell, and Vorotnikov


  • Marc T. Law
  • Mindy S. Marks


In this paper we respond to Daniel Klein, Benjamin Powell, and Evgeny Vorotnikov’s (henceforth KPV) critique of our 2009 Journal of Law and Economics paper on the effects of occupational regulation on the employment of female and black workers. Our view is that KPV have not successfully made the case that our study is “rife with problems,” that our findings are “simply spurious correlations,” and that our conclusions are “highly doubtful.” In our reply we take on each of KPV’s criticisms. Specifically, we demonstrate that neither (1) our use of census data; nor (2) the problem of uneven enforcement of licensing laws; nor (3) measurement error in the timing and stringency of licensing laws; nor (4) the omitted variables that KPV identify systematically bias our estimates in favor of finding positive effects. In each of these instances, we show that the problems that KPV have identified would either bias our estimates toward zero or in the opposite direction of what we do find. Additionally, we argue that KPV’s falsification tests do not clearly show that our empirical methodology is biased. Finally, we estimate new regressions in light of KPV’s suggestions and find results that are consistent with our original conclusions. Accordingly, KPV have failed to mount a persuasive critique of our original paper.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:9:y:2012:i:3:p:234-255

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Neumark, David & Wascher, William, 2001. "Minimum Wages and Training Revisited," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(3), pages 563-595, July.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
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    More about this item


    Occupational licensure; licensing; race; gender; discrimination;

    JEL classification:

    • D18 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Protection
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations


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