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

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  • Mario Pagliero

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Abstract

This paper provides the first empirical evidence of a positive impact of the quality and number of potential entrants on entry requirements in professional markets. The estimated effects are so large that increases in the quality of candidates are completely offset by increases in exam difficulty and therefore do not lead to any long run increase in the number of successful candidates. Variations in the number of candidates are also significantly (but not completely) offset by changes in exam difficulty. About one third of the additional candidates that otherwise would have passed the examination fail because of the increase in standards. These results are not in line with public interest theory of licensing. The classic rent seeking view of licensing can explain some (but not all) of the results.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpc:wplist:wp19_08
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    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 1328-1346, December.
    4. Avner Shared & John Sutton, 1981. "The Self-Regulating Profession," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(2), pages 217-234.
    5. 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.
    6. Morris M. Kleiner, 2006. "Licensing Occupations: Ensuring Quality or Restricting Competition?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number lo, November.
    7. 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.
    8. Carl Shapiro, 1986. "Investment, Moral Hazard, and Occupational Licensing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(5), pages 843-862.
    9. 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.
    10. 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 3-39, June.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
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    Cited by:

    1. Paul Oyer & Scott Schaefer, 2012. "Firm/Employee Matching: An Industry Study of American Lawyers," NBER Working Papers 18620, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    professional licensing; legal market; bar exam; minimum standards; entry regulation;

    JEL classification:

    • L4 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies
    • L5 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy
    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets
    • K2 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law

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