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The regulation of occupations

Bryson, Alex and Kleiner, Morris M. (2010) The regulation of occupations. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 48 (4). pp. 670-675. ISSN 0007-1080

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Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1467-8543.2010.00806.x


1. Introduction An essential task of democratic societies is to establish a proper balance between freedom and order. From this general principle of democratic governments, we examine the regulation of occupations by the state. The issue of regulation involves the role of government in reconciling the special interests of the members of the occupation with the general concerns of the public. These special interest groups compete with one another in attempting to bring public policy into conformity with their own objectives. For political leaders, a key question is how to meet the demands of organized special interests without sacrificing the ‘welfare of the people as a whole’ (Council of State Governments 1952). The issue of occupational regulation has been of academic interest from Adam Smith to Milton Friedman (Friedman 1962; Smith 1937). In Western democracies, the number of workers who are required to have a licence in order to work has grown substantially. For example, in the United States, occupational licensing has grown from approximately 4 per cent of the workforce in the early 1950s to about 29 per cent in 2006 (Kleiner and Krueger 2010, this volume). Adding in individuals whose occupation involves some kind of governmental certification or eventual licensing brings the total to 38 per cent of the US workforce (Kleiner and Krueger 2009). In the United Kingdom, the percentage of the workforce that requires a government licence in order to work has doubled in the past 12 years to more than 13 per cent (Humphris et al. 2010). Examining the reasons for the growth and its economic implications is an important issue for understanding and analysing labour market institutions.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd / The London School of Economics and Political Science
Divisions: Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2012 12:51
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 01:09

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