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Don’t Bury the Competition: The Growth of Occupational Licensing and a Toolbox for Reform

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In recent years, states have subjected more occupations to burdensome regulatory requirements that are often imposed to fetter competition. There is broad agreement that many such restrictions reduce consumer welfare and impose particular burdens on economically disadvantaged groups. This Note examines why existing tools have failed to constrain this protectionist trend. Drawing upon U.S. and foreign experiences, it proposes a statutory reform that would preserve states’ roles as primary regulators of occupations subject only to limited FTC oversight to prevent protectionism and that includes numerous procedural protections to avoid excessive preemption.

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