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phdoofus t1_j9whisc wrote

Gee would I rather my plumbers, electricians, and contractors be licensed and bonded or not? Hmmm.....


EconomistPunter t1_j9wnuf2 wrote

The point is that licensing imputing quality signals can and does have a net welfare loss before you take into account changes in quality.


tornpentacle t1_j9xga4f wrote

For those who didn't read the paper (let's be real, that's somewhere above 99% of the commenters on any given post), there was only a 12% reduction in total surplus compared to unlicensed entities. Worth noting that trade unions and licensing go hand in hand (i.e., workers generally fare better when licensing is involved, with a higher than average standard of living than that of Uncle Cletus's ragtag band of corner-cutters). Not to mention the significantly reduced risk of shoddy workmanship (which can cause very serious harm), meaning a higher standard of living for consumers.

Not scientific in nature, but Larry David did a great bit about this in one of the more recent seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm.


dcheesi t1_j9y2qk3 wrote

Yeah, I was wondering how they factored in quality of work, but from the abstract it sounds like they just...didn't?


signal_lost t1_j9yksqa wrote

For electrical let’s pretend the guy with a J card who did my houses wiring didn’t leave so many shorts I’ve have to replace 1/2 the breaks and it’s a net positive in workmanship. Fine.

What’s the net benefit to preventing a women from braiding hair without a cosmological license. Or arresting the guy repairing a roof in florida who’s a licensed roofer in another state? How about the fact that my board certified wife can’t practice medicine in another state despite being a respected and published MD on the staff of a top medical school?

My nurse isn’t higher quality because her certification is from NYC instead of Jersey.


JEaglewing t1_j9ynvco wrote

Its cosmetology for hair, not cosmological which is about space, that's not really helping your arguement, and cosmetologists have to work with sharp implements and chemicals that can be dangerous/ harmful so it is important they know what they are doing.

The issue with not allowing out of state professionals isn't an issue with licensing but with your state not accepting the licensing of other states, some states do recognize the licensing from other states so that is a problem that could be solved by states working together to have similar standards and making their licenses reciprocal.


chrispybobispy t1_j9z5waz wrote

I think the issue with it is not all states operate the same. Some will have rules or experience requirements that are very lax


JEaglewing t1_j9z6yx4 wrote

That's why I think it should be more standardized, all the trades work off of national codes so I don't see why licensing shouldn't work the same.


chrispybobispy t1_j9z8arv wrote

That would be ideal. But there's a political gradient between California and let's say Mississippi that make that difficult to adopt


JEaglewing t1_j9z8ws5 wrote

Yeah politics often gets in the way of doing the right thing. To many puppets for established players and not enough common sense.


professorlust t1_j9zvbut wrote


It’s more that places like California and Florida have very strict building codes due to Natural disaster mitigation.

How do you guarantee that Mike from Mississippi with his Mississippi license knows how to properly roof to Florida standards if he doesn’t have a Florida license?

Or Alex from Alabama laying concrete on California If he’s not familiar with California building requirements?


JEaglewing t1_ja0bmhh wrote

Even for licensed inviduals standards change based on location within a state, so the fact that they have a license SHOULD be the guarantee that they can do it properly, to all applicable specifications no matter where they are working. Part of the job is making sure you are following all specifications regarding to the conditions that you are operating in.


Talinoth t1_ja0hazo wrote

In reality that makes getting a license - any license - in the first place a much harder ordeal, and it means that the contractor has to learn extremely location-specific knowledge for places they won't be working just to prove they can work anywhere in the country. This is despite the likely outcome that they'll disregard 90% of that information later because it's not necessary to know in their region, making that study a waste of time. This is not grand and results in the exact opposite of what we want to achieve.

  • A: It'd drive up licensing costs.
  • B: More study time would be required just to pass, and the fail rate would be higher.
  • C: The customer would have to pay more to cover the professional's increased licensing costs OR businesses would absorb losses/simply fail.
  • D: Professions that are already understaffed would be even more so, damaging the economy in various ways. Those jobs exist because somebody needs them done >!(more true of a concrete layer than a cosmetologist though)!<.

Because I think criticism is a poor substitute for offering solutions, here's an alternative:

  • Certifications for general knowledge in a profession should be nationalised, whereas location-specific knowledge should be localised. This in practice should mean that you don't have to re-do your whole license again when you move state, but you do a two or three week course that gets you up to speed with a particular type of soil/weather condition/set of local regulations.

RedditUser91805 t1_j9z0us9 wrote

You can judge things by vibes, or you can judge things by evidence. The evidence doesn't indicate an improvement in safety or quality from licensing


ascandalia t1_j9zjv2z wrote

The article only looks at marginal licensing in some states but not others. I doubt there's a state where plumbers, electricians and contractors aren't licensed.


RedditUser91805 t1_j9zmbna wrote

You inspired me to find out, so here are US states that do not require occupational licensing at the state level for:

Plumbers: Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming

Electricians: Arizona, Florida, Illinois (except coal mine electricians), Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina

Contractors: Florida, Louisiana, Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wyoming

Apparently Ontario de jure requires licenses, but hasn't been enforcing it, and therefore de facto doesn't.


More on topic, the data I had on mind but did not cite when I posted this comment was:

Kleiner, M. M., & Park, K. W. (2014, January). Life, limbs, and licensing: Occupational Regulation, wages ... Bureau of Labor statistics. Retrieved December 7, 2021, from


ascandalia t1_j9zobr4 wrote

Well, I live in Florida, and I know for a fact that contactor and electrical licensing is required. There may be some things you can do without a license from state to state, but that doesn't mean the license doesn't exist and isn't necessary for some or most work, so this list missing important context


Kombucha1 t1_ja6dxh1 wrote

It says state level but most likely local regs require it.


GoGoBitch t1_j9zq9vt wrote

I agree on all three of those, but I think there are also some professions that require licensing in at least some states that maybe don’t need to, such as nail technicians, makeup artists, travel agents, unarmed security guards, and florists.


psychicpilot t1_j9xt03e wrote

But your hairdresser?


dcheesi t1_j9y2axh wrote

There's a significant safety & liability concern there. Hairdressers routinely apply potentially toxic and/or caustic chemicals directly to people's hair and scalp. Not to mention sharp cutting tools and very hot implements (curling irons, etc.). All in close proximity to, or even direct contact with, a person's face and neck.


unicornbomb t1_j9ynn5y wrote

There’s also a huge potential for blood borne pathogen spread due to the use of straight razors, waxing, etc that requires appropriate training in technique, single use implements, blood spill procedure and sanitation.

Along with the potential to spread things like lice if the stylist isn’t trained on what to look for and appropriately cleaning and sterilizing tools.


stanolshefski t1_j9yep1o wrote

That’s a fair argument for streamlining the required training.

It’s been a while since I read the studies, but in every state that licenses barbers and cosmetologists, the safety aspects of training typically took up between 5-15% of the required training.

Instead of 1000-2000 hours of training at a typical cost of $15k-20k, you could probably do it in a few weeks for a couple hundred dollars.

Many states required you to spend more time being trained on how to market your trade than they required for safety.


psychicpilot t1_j9y2ffn wrote

Some states want hundreds of hours and dollars for this- give me a break. Same with interior decorators.


whatweshouldcallyou t1_j9yjeml wrote

If this created a serious issue that licensing solves then surely we should find a discernible difference in cases of injuries sustained in salons in states that do not require licensing vs. those that do, right?

Because I doubt there are.


unicornbomb t1_j9ynqjq wrote

Every state in the US requires licensing for hairstylists and barbers.


Sea-Intention6698 t1_ja09jtx wrote

Yet the UK doesn’t. Surely people are getting lice and ears cut off because of this wild wild approach to cutting hair.


unicornbomb t1_ja0p80u wrote

UK has the NVQ system, and you aren’t going to be hired without first doing an apprenticeship or having nvq level 2 in hairdressing.


Athene_cunicularia23 t1_ja088f9 wrote

I remember my mom studying for her cosmetology licensing exam when I was a kid. Lots of questions pertained to safe dilution and mixture of the various chemicals hairdressers regularly use. Others had to do with hygiene and sanitation of implements like razors. Seems pretty important to me.


Legallyfit t1_j9yoj6h wrote

Anyone have a non-paywalled copy? I’d be so curious to see the breakdown in licensing practices across professions. As others have pointed out - it feels risky to not license plumbers, electricians, contractors.

But there are many trades that require licensing that…. Maybe don’t. My state requires nail techs to be licensed but basically anyone can walk in and get licensed. It’s a paper test that’s easily cheated on. So yes for nail techs in my particular state, I bet this licensing scheme does just raise prices and the cost of doing business with no real benefits to health and safety of the public. Similarly auctioneers need a special license. Why??? I’d love to see more analysis of those issues.


MaizeAndBruin t1_j9zmpa4 wrote

Louisiana requires a license to become a florist. The Institute for Justice (libertarian public interest law firm) does a ton of work on occupational licensing and some of the crazy restrictions various states put on people trying to earn a living.


GotThoseJukes t1_ja0dnou wrote

I have a medical profession with a governing board and credentialing process. Every five years I need to submit recertification with New York for them to verify that I have a lower amount of credentials than are required to do my job in the first place in any of the fifty states.

I’m convinced a lot of these things just exist to employ people. The process in my state for my career is objectively meaningless.


DeadFamilyMan t1_ja00kyq wrote

Never met an employer who didn’t pay for licensing.


Legallyfit t1_ja01ip0 wrote

There are many licensed industries where the license holders function like independent contractors and are responsible for their own licensing fees and any CE. Hairdressers and barbers rent slots at salons and pay for their own licenses, and nail techs often do too. Court reporters typically pay for their own licenses as well. Not sure about the trades like electric, plumbing, and HVAC though, but my impression is that you get licensed on your own dime and and then get on as an apprentice. That may vary by region though.


DeadFamilyMan t1_ja037b7 wrote

Usually you get hired and start learning the trade and your company will pay for you to get licensed in trades. At least that’s the experience friends have had and I had working for a company in my early 20s. They find people that want to work and actually invest in them.


ReservoirGods t1_ja0shmi wrote

I worked in healthcare and had to pay for my own licensing, it definitely happens


AnonKnowsBest t1_ja07jky wrote

Immigrants come to mind since they’re unable to pay for licensing anyway, and continue to operate their businesses, such as their money is useless, apparently.


chudney31 t1_j9z7zbl wrote

There’s reasons licensing became mandatory for some things. It’s because someone was hurt, or people were getting ripped off, or homes were damaged due to incompetence. Now some licensing requirements can be excessive, so reform those. But don’t take it away. It’s saving people’s lives or saving people money. There’s already a lot of unlicensed people performing work out there anyway. If you trust their work then go for it.


stanolshefski t1_ja2jp35 wrote

Should we license florists? They’re licensed in some states.

Who benefits from licensed florists?


No-Sock7425 t1_j9wuxo2 wrote

The example that comes to mind is the painting trade. Wildly different expectations from state to state.


TinKicker t1_j9z1kyt wrote

A quick google revealed the following professions require licensure (at least in some states):

Flower arranger, gas pumper (NJ), hair braider, travel guide, interior designer, aircraft fueler (HA! Just kidding. No license or certification required to refuel your airliner. I did that job while in college.),


RedditUser91805 t1_j9z3glj wrote

A hundred times this

People don't realize that nearly a quarter of jobs in the US require occupational licenses (thank god, it's finally going down after decades of increases) because states have been progressively increasing the number of jobs that require licensure.


linusth3cat t1_j9yigay wrote

For some of the small states and people living on borders then you may have to get multiple licenses in multiple states to do the work you want. This can be a big barrier


unicornbomb t1_j9yny3z wrote

The solution to this is license reciprocity or national licensing standards though, not removing licensing entirely.


Jmazoso t1_j9yzvf6 wrote

I’m a civil engineer who lives on a tristate border. I hold a license in all three states. But, it’s done through reciprocity. I apply though the state board, but all the requirement stuff is held by a separate board that confirms to the new state that I meet all the requirements. It’s not too obnoxious, the bad part is keeping track of the renewal dates for all three.

Excerpt California, they have 2 additional tests you have to pass to get their license.


unicornbomb t1_j9z2oxn wrote

Yea, the current method of reciprocity is kind of ridiculous IMO. How it should work — if you hold a license in one state that shares reciprocity with another, the original license kept current should be all that is needed. I.e. you have a MD license which shares reciprocity with VA, so you can work in either state with a current MD license.

That or the obvious national licensing option, but that is likely a pipe dream unfortunately.


JEaglewing t1_j9yoqj4 wrote

States lacking reciprocal licensing is a different issue that needs to be addressed, but that doesn't negate the importance of licensing. Just like we want people to prove they are competent before they drive a car, there are plenty of jobs that need the same competency check so that they don't kill people with shoddy work.


EconomistPunter t1_j9wo77z wrote

Cool study. Does suggest that using a signal to impute quality for consumers can have sizable losses, for those who wouldn’t get a license but would work, and for consumers.

The distributional impact is also important, as higher prices may preclude lower income Americans from performing needed repairs.

Note that this welfare loss does not take into account quality measures of work performed, which would mitigate the losses.


LairdPopkin t1_j9zl06s wrote

Since the entire point of licensing is to drive up quality, because there is a harm to incompetent practitioners in many areas, it feels to me like the study is intentionally constructed to be misleading.


EconomistPunter t1_j9znjxy wrote

And, unfortunately, the existence of unintended consequences to laws, as well as ineffective language, means that implementation often falls short of intention.

This is an important study.

Edit: your mindset would have derided follow up studies to Brown versus Board of Education, which almost uniformly found less than expected Black economic progress, because equal access did not imply equal resources. It’s a terrible mindset.


D8NisOK t1_j9zftsz wrote

I find licensing a pain in the ass... But is also a huge barrier of entry to my profession, so there's less competition and my fees reflect that.


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[deleted] t1_j9xbcap wrote



tornpentacle t1_j9xdkz5 wrote

That's not an accurate meme. (Healthy) people on the rightmost end of the bell curve support governance and regulation.


[deleted] t1_j9xe7a6 wrote



Claque-2 t1_j9xpdr7 wrote

I saw your transcript and you went to Qoxford United, an online school running out of a strip mall in Ohatchee, Alabama before a tornado leveled it. And you studied mattress tag law.


tornpentacle t1_j9xeht6 wrote

Suuuuure you do. And I bet you think you'd do a better job too, don't you?

(I did say "healthy" people, mind you. That does include psychological health. Antisocial beliefs like those you appear to harbor don't exactly put one into that category.)


[deleted] t1_j9xf0lm wrote



zamfi t1_j9xp4ni wrote

> Law can only ever favor entrenched wealth and power

That is a very maximalist claim about a concept with a pretty loose definition -- and you are offering no alternative.


haysoos2 t1_j9y2d0q wrote

When he asks if you could do a better job, what he is asking is if we have no laws because they are as you say "a farce", what is your preferable and more equitable system that would replace the function of laws and regulations in our modern society?

I'm surprised they didn't cover this form of rhetoric in your many philosophy and law degrees.


badhairdad1 t1_j9z5crz wrote

Like barbers and masseuses and tattoo artists? Or plumbers and chiropractors?


Darqologist t1_j9zs8di wrote

This is interesting.. (wish the article was available but alas). The requirements for professional/medical (social workers, counselors, doctors, dentists, etc) also can vary greatly from state to state.


tenebrae_i t1_ja0h2aa wrote

There are some states that don’t require a license to take X-Rays. Crazy since it is literally dangerous. I’ve lived in California and Alaska as a radiological technologist. California requires licensure, but Alaska does not. Most places that you work in the cities require it, but there are a lot of boondocks in that state and almost impossible to get techs qualified to live there. No place I have ever lived paid for my continuing education for maintaining my license.


UniversalMomentum t1_ja0o5hm wrote

Most of these licenses are super easy tests so I doubt their Theory.

Even the somewhat serious tests like plumbers and electricians are open book tests. Not just about the licensing but also that you know that kind of work has to meet code so you need everybody to be on the same page somehow.

But without the breakdown of what industries they're talking about the entire concept is basically worthless.


millennial-snowflake t1_j9zqt78 wrote

Oh so science is telling us there are some jobs that can be done even without a shiny piece of gatekeeping paperwork that gives you permission? Who knew! It's almost like our entire capitalist meritocracy is a bureaucratic sham...


SuspiciousStable9649 t1_j9wgwve wrote

Rich companies don’t want the competition. You work for corporate! (Did I get that right?)


crusoe t1_j9x504q wrote

I think some things do need to be licensed such as electricians and plumbing. Mistakes are too costly for owners or insurers.

But beyond basic hygiene class I don't think barbers or beauticians need to be licensed.


jupitaur9 t1_j9y9ngt wrote

Did your basic hygiene class discuss caustic chemicals applied to your hair and scalp? That’s an everyday job for hairdressers.


Miserly_Bastard t1_ja0o40h wrote

Could you have read a book and taken a test to demonstrate your understanding of those hazards instead of paying for however many months of in-person instruction where you live?

The issue isn't necessarily that license=bad but that the process of becoming licensed entails is often excessive and wasteful.

The flip side of that is that my ex-wife paid a school to forge her hours so that she could go straight to a testing center after a long while where she'd been working in a job for which she was unlicensed. That was so that she could be a standalone business owner. When a license only really serves to hinder thoughtful, caring, and law-abiding people from doing business and it puts them at a disadvantage to lawbreakers then...well, that just isn't a very good look for occupational licensing.


crusoe t1_ja1nbv4 wrote

That can be covered in a few days or weeks of training, not the months some states require.


Kombucha1 t1_j9wxcfd wrote

Unlicensed should be allowed but announced.


tornpentacle t1_j9xe66s wrote

Absolutely not. Licensing is a matter of human rights. The entire reason trades require licensing is because of how many people were hurt and killed by poor work. Are you some kind of anarchist or libertarian or something?


stanolshefski t1_ja2k5l2 wrote

That may be true for some (maybe even most) professions. For others, licensing was created by existing members of the profession to protect their jobs/wages. Maintaining a high barrier to entry, or a system where others work an extended period of time a no wages or significantly-reduced wages, keeps incomes up for the licensed group of people.


jerekhal t1_j9xia9f wrote

Hell no. The very last thing I want is an unlicensed electrician causing a string of electrical fires years after the job's done because of faulty wiring or lax adherence to standards.

Licensing is not just to protect the individual hiring the contractor, it's also to protect the general public from the consequences of inadequate workmanship.


Tearakan t1_j9ykwk1 wrote

Definitely nope. Then we will end up crazy house fires all the time with subcontractors hiring out their cousin to do electrical then only announcing it to the foreman who would conveniently forget it later.

And that's just the residential problems from unlicensed electrical work.

Imagine unlicensed civil engineering killing dozens a few years later and you find out that company already folded and the person who fucked up is already effectively gone.