Academics agree: occupational licensing reform is important

Academics agree: occupational licensing reform is important

During the last weekend in May, I had the opportunity to participate in an academic conference focused on occupational regulations. The conference, co-hosted by the Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation at St. Francis University and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Business, was a tremendous opportunity for scholars to show numerous streams of study in the area of occupational regulation.

The conference–held entirely online–looked much like any academic conference: panel discussions, multiple papers being presented, and conversations by those interested in particular topics discussing the research to tease out more information. All in all, it was a worthwhile endeavor.

As one who today lives primarily in the policy world, but who has spent a significant amount of my time in the academic world (both attaining advanced degrees and as a college-level instructor), I was pleasantly surprised to see that there is an abundance of ongoing academic research which points to the notion that occupational licensing reform is necessary, and that excessive occupational licensing is harmful to individuals, consumers, and the economy as a whole.

Although all of the papers presented were done orally, I’m looking forward to being able to get hold of some of them in written form to dig deeper. Likewise, many of these types of papers eventually turn into chapters in doctoral dissertations or books, so it looks to me like the academic world will be providing the policy world with lots of ammunition in the occupational licensing arena for quite some time.

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