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The Impact of Potential Labor Supply on Licensing Exam Difficulty in the US Market for Lawyers

  • Mario Pagliero


    (Department of Economics and Public Finance "G. Prato", University of Torino)

Entry into licensed professions requires meeting competency requirements, typically assessed through licensing examinations. In the market for lawyers, there are large differences in the difficulty of the entry examination both across states and over time. The paper explores whether the number and quality of individuals attempting to enter the profession (potential supply) affects the difficulty of the entry examination. The empirical results show that a larger potential supply leads to more difficult licensing exams and lower pass rates. This implies that licensing partially shelters the legal market from supply shocks.

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Paper provided by Former Department of Economics and Public Finance "G. Prato", University of Torino in its series Working papers with number 18.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2011
Date of revision: May 2013
Handle: RePEc:tur:wpaper:18
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  1. Shapiro, Carl, 1986. "Investment, Moral Hazard, and Occupational Licensing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(5), pages 843-62, October.
  2. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
  3. MaCurdy, Thomas E & Pencavel, John H, 1986. "Testing between Competing Models of Wage and Employment Determination in Unionized Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages S3-S39, June.
  4. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
  5. 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.
  6. Marc T. Law & Sukkoo Kim, 2004. "Specialization and Regulation: The Rise of Professionals and the Emergence of Occupational Licensing Regulation," NBER Working Papers 10467, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. Pashigian, B Peter, 1977. "The Market for Lawyers: The Determinants of the Demand for and Supply of Lawyers," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 53-85, April.
  9. Morris M. Kleiner, 2006. "Licensing Occupations: Ensuring Quality or Restricting Competition?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number lo.
  10. Maurizi, Alex, 1974. "Occupational Licensing and the Public Interest," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages 399-413, Part I, M.
  11. Pashigian, B Peter, 1979. "Occupational Licensing and the Interstate Mobility of Professionals," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 1-25, April.
  12. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1981. "The Self-Regulating Profession," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 217-34, April.
  13. 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 165-86, April.
  14. Shepard, Lawrence, 1978. "Licensing Restrictions and the Cost of Dental Care," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 187-201, April.
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