I Repent; I Shall Revise My Labor Econ Notes
By Bryan Caplan
In the latest Econ Journal Watch, Stephenson and Wendt point out that virtually all labor econ textbooks ignore occupational licensing despite its empirical importance. In particular, they show that licensing matters a lot more in the U.S. than the minimum wage or unions. After all, almost 30% of workers now need a license to do their job, and licensed workers earn a 15% wage premium.
I’m embarassed to admit, then, that my labor notes suffer from the same omission – and I don’t even use a textbook! I have no defense, so I’m just going to say, “Mea culpa” and repent. The next time I teach labor in Fall, 2010, my lecture will be revised to give occupational licensing the treatment it deserves.
Update: Dan’s Klein’s PowerPoint presentation on occupational licensing is awesome.