The best job-market fix you’ve never heard of: ‘occupational licensing reform’ may be having a moment
“Lots of people lost their jobs during the pandemic, so making sure we don’t have artificial barriers to jobs is important,” said Shoshana Weissmann, a fellow and the senior manager of digital media at the R Street Institute, a free-market think tank. “Also, when you have fewer professionals in an industry, those services can become more expensive.”
Weissmann also points to what she calls the “there oughta be a law!” kind of outrage that so often boils up when something goes wrong. “That’s not always a bad impulse,” she said. But it may be misguided.
Take the example of the New Jersey dog groomers.
Dozens of dogs died over the course of a decade after being groomed at privately held PetSmart stores around the state, prompting a 2018 local news investigation and a push for legislation that would require licensing for groomers. “Bijou’s Law” failed to pass initially but has been re-introduced.
“There’s better ways to achieve a lot of the same outcomes that people want,” Weissmann told MarketWatch: inspections, for example.
Weissmann notes that the need to secure a license hits military spouses particularly hard: since they move so frequently, they cross state lines and hit fresh licensing requirements each time. First and second ladies from the Obama and Trump administrations have taken up that cause.