Status of Occupational Regulation: Evidence from Case Studies

Award Year


Grant Type

Research grant


Occupations face varying levels of state and government occupational regulation ranging from simple registration processes to certification permits and licensure laws. This study examines five occupations in various stages of occupational regulation development. The first chapter provides an overview and examines occupations that do not generally seek government regulations. Subsequent chapters examine detailed case studies of occupations at varying stages of governmental regulation – from lightly regulated, such as interior designers; to take-off stages of regulation, such as mortgage brokers and preschool teachers; to a mature stage of regulation that includes the construction trades; and finally occupations that are universally regulated by the states, such as dentists and hygienists. These professions are analyzed to establish whether there is a consistent model of stages of occupational growth and subsequent regulation or whether there is a local equilibrium for each separate occupation. The goal of this model development, gathering of new data on regulatory institutions, and empirical testing will be to inform the public and policymakers of the costs and benefits at each stage of regulation.

Grant Product

Occupational Licensing: Protecting the Public Interest or Protectionism?
Upjohn Institute Policy Paper No. 2011-009

Stages of Occupational Regulation: Analysis of Case Studies
Kalamazoo, MI: Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 2013

Wage Effects of Unionization and Occupational Licensing Coverage in the United States
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Working Papers: 464, 2013

Wage Effects of Unionization and Occupational Licensing Coverage in the United States
NBER Working Papers: 19061, 2013