Edward Timmons and Anna Mills find that occupational-licensing requirements for opticians raise consumers’ costs of receiving opticians’ services without improving the quality of those services. (HT Tyler Cowen) Here’s the abstract:
The labor market institution of occupational licensing continues to grow in scope in the United States and abroad. In this paper, we estimate the effects of occupational licensing on opticians using data from the US Census and American Community Survey. Our results suggest that optician licensing is associated with opticians receiving as much as 16.9 percent more in annual earnings. In an examination of malpractice insurance premiums in all states and participation rates in optician certification programs in Texas, we find little evidence that optician licensing has enhanced the quality of services delivered to consumers. By and large, optician licensing appears to be reducing consumer welfare by raising the earnings of opticians without enhancing the quality of services delivered to consumers.