WILL Press Release | WILL Testifies on Occupational Licensing Reform to Senate and Assembly Committees

Roth, Flanders speak on how burdensome licensing laws cost jobs in Wisconsin


April 6, 2017 – Milwaukee, WI – Today WILL Research Fellow Collin Roth and Research Director Will Flanders, Ph.D, will testify for informational purposes only to the Senate Committee on Public Benefits, Licensing, and State-Federal Relations and the Assembly Committee on Regulatory Reform about SB 108 and SB 109.  These bills focus on decreasing certain licensing requirements for the cosmetology and barbering professions.  The testimony submitted to the Committees can be found here.

The testimony focuses on two recent WILL studies about occupational licensing in the Badger State.  Since 1996, licenses by the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) (or formerly Department of Regulation and Licensing) have grown by 84%.  The number of license holders have grown by 34%.  In total, this results in 31,000 fewer jobs and approximately $1.9 billion in higher consumer costs.

WILL’s other study, which was peer-reviewed by academics, analyzed 10 occupations (including cosmetology) to conclude that Wisconsin has the third most burdensome licensure laws in the country and the worst in the Midwest.  In cosmetology, Wisconsin has the 11th most burdensome licensing laws.

The study shows how Wisconsin could increase employment by 2.2% if it would decrease its licensing requirements to the national average or 7% if it was reduced to the least restrictive standards.

Occupational licensing fences out opportunity for countless people who look at the hurdles and red tape and sadly decide that they cannot afford to pursue their dreams.  Wisconsin must do more to knock down the barriers to entry for employment.

The WILL studies, part of our Fencing Out series, can be found below:

Occupational Licensing in the Badger State, November 2016, Roth, Collin and Elena Ramlow.

The Effect of Licensing Regulations on Employment​, March 2017, Flanders, Will and Collin Roth.



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