Publication Date



Policy Paper No. 2011-009




The issue of the government regulation of occupations involves the role of government in reconciling the special interests of the practitioners with those of society. The strictest form of occupational regulation is occupational licensing which is extensive and growing. In 2008, nearly 30 percent of the workforce was required to hold a license up from around 10 percent in 1970. There are potential job loss implications in the growth of occupational licensing for the labor market and the economy. An alternative form of regulation, the certification of occupations, which does not impose a "closed shop" on entry and mobility, may be a policy to avoid the job loss implications of occupational licensing.

Issue Date

July 2011

Subject Areas

LABOR MARKET ISSUES; Occupational regulation and licensing




Kleiner, Morris M. 2011. "Occupational Licensing: Protecting the Public Interest or Protectionism?" Policy Paper No. 2011-009. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.