Alan B. Krueger reports on Morris M. Kleiner’s research on occupational licensing.

He provides much evidence that the balance of occupational licensing has shifted away from protecting consumers and toward limiting the supply of workers in various professions. A result is that services provided by licensed workers are more expensive than necessary and that quality is not noticeably affected.

…Although the exact number of workers in jobs that require a license is not available, Professor Kleiner conservatively estimates that 20 percent of workers in 2000 were in an occupation that was covered by a state licensing requirement, up from 5 percent in the 1950’s.

Last year, I also mentioned Kleiner’s work.

Since I have an interest in health care economics, my pet peeve in this area is physical therapists. In Maryland, we are headed toward requiring PT’s to obtain what amounts to a doctorate, even though they already are scarce.

If one were trying to improve health care, would the requirements for being a physical therapist be stricter or more flexible than what they have been?