Occupational licensing policies are widely understood to suppress employment and entrepreneurial opportunities as well as raise prices to consumers. What has not been studied much is the mechanism by which occupational licensing restrictions are influenced by the boards created to enforce them. Those boards are often dominated by existing licensing holders and other active market players who have a direct self-interest in keeping the barriers to entry into the occupation high.

Many workers must go through the often lengthy and costly process of getting a new occupational license when they move to a new state even if they have substantial work experience or a license in good standing from their prior state of residence. The ability to bring their license with them — license portability — doesn’t exist for most workers. This lack of license portability has real-world impacts.  

This study provides a plan for how states can end the harmful competition that the practice of corporate welfare encourages. It describes why corporate welfare is damaging to local and state economies and a zero-sum game from a national perspective. It also ranks the states based on how many handouts they make to favored businesses.

Immigrants to the United States make up an average of 14% of the population yet they make up 22% of all entrepreneurs. As a result, the immigrant entrepreneurship rate — the number of entrepreneurs as a share of the population — tends to be higher than the native- born entrepreneurship rate. While the average rate of native self-employed equaled 240 entrepreneurs per 100,000 people (or 0.24%), the average rate of immigrant entrepreneurs equaled 420 per 100,000 people (0.42%).

The three years following release from prison is the window in which ex-prisoners are mostly likely to re-offend. Successful entry into the labor force has been shown to greatly increase the chances that a prisoner will not recidivate. Yet govern- ment-imposed barriers to reintegration into the labor force — particularly occupational licensing requirements — can be among the most pernicious barriers faced by ex-prisoners seeking to enter the workforce.