Occupational licensing is a big reason the poor don’t become rich

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“Totally out of control,” “insane,” and “disproportionately hurting those who can least afford it” — that’s how Special Assistant to the President Ivanka Trump described occupational licensing at a White House event for millennials in March.

She’s right about the barriers that occupational licensing poses to low-income Americans who are trying to move up the economic ladder. A new Archbridge Institute report is the first to estimate how much the growth in licensing is associated with declines in economic mobility. The results are astounding.

Over the 20-year period from 1993 to 2012, occupational licensing laws expanded drastically across the U.S. The average state created 31 new licenses over that time, with states such as Arizona (54) and Louisiana (59) seeing the largest increase.