Bryan Caplan  

I Repent; I Shall Revise My Labor Econ Notes

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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.


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COMMENTS (5 to date)
John Fast writes:

Does this mean that the correct answer to Question #6 on Homework #9 is "Neither"?

I"m a good example of this. Someone with a B.A. and certification can teach high school, but I cannot teach high school even though I have a Ph.D., simply because I do not have certification. In the meantime, Texas, where I live, is complaining about having a teacher shortage.

Also, it is actually ILLEGAL for a principal to offer someone a job in Texas if they don't have certification, even if the person plans to get certified. By law, they can only offer a job to someone already certified.

Actually, there are several strange things in regards to education that are illegal in Texas. For example, it is illegal for a teacher to tell a Spanish-speaking parent that they can request to have their child put in an English-only class. It is also illegal to talk about the content of the TAKS test (our standardized tests).

I suspect that the latter one is because if everyone knew what was on the test, they would be outraged that so many fail it -- it is designed so that an IQ 90 taught by a mediocre teacher can pass it. And yet . . .

Ben Scafidi writes:

My paper with JJ Arias sheds light on the issue of teacher licensure.

http://www.bepress.com/bejeap/vol9/iss1/art4/

Vasco writes:

I think the pdf link is broken.

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