Do Barbers Really Need a License?

(http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304451104577389691765508790.html)

“These barriers [licensing] make it harder for people—particularly minorities and those of lesser means and with less education—to find jobs and build new businesses that create jobs.
“If lawmakers … want to help more Americans find jobs, they should start by reducing or removing burdens that do little more than protect some people from competition by keeping others out of work.”

“Is it plausible that cosmetologists need, on average, 10 times as many days to fulfill their educational and training requirements (372) than emergency medical technicians (33), who literally hold lives in their hands? That is the reality in most states. In fact, 66 occupations face greater average licensing burdens than EMTs.”

“Are all these regulatory barriers to entry really necessary to protect public safety or prevent consumers from shoddy work, as defenders of occupational licensure claim? Regulatory inconsistencies from state to state undermine this argument.

“The vast majority of jobs we studied are done in one state or another by people without any government-issued license. Interior designers are licensed in just three states and the District of Columbia, for example, funeral attendants in only nine states, and shampooers in a mere five states. We know of no evidence that consumers in the remaining states demanded occupational licenses to protect them from an epidemic of dangerous shampooing.

“License requirements often vary greatly. In five states, aspiring auctioneers must complete about a year or more of training—but only about nine days in Vermont and four days in Pennsylvania.

“the truth is that consumers are capable of judging the quality of many services for themselves. If lawmakers in Michigan and elsewhere want to help more Americans find jobs, they should start by reducing or removing burdens that do little more than protect some people from competition by keeping others out of work.”

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