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There and Back Again: The De‐Licensing and Re‐Licensing of Barbers in Alabama

There and Back Again: The De‐Licensing and Re‐Licensing of Barbers in Alabama The economic effects of occupational licensing remain an understudied topic, but even less is known about the effects of the removal of licensing legislation. In this article, we take advantage of a natural experiment that occurred in the state of Alabama. Alabama was the last state to begin licensing barbers in 1973 and also the only state to de‐license barbers (in 1983). Relying on data from 1974 to 1994, we find evidence that barber de‐licensing reduced the average annual earnings of barbers as well as the number of cosmetologist employees per million residents in Alabama, although not all our results are statistically significant. We also find evidence that de‐licensing resulted in small increases in the number of barber shops and decreases in the number of cosmetology shops in Alabama. In recent decades, a number of attempts have been made to re‐license the occupation — most recently with a barber licensing bill that became law in September 2013. The result is that barbering in Alabama is once again a licensed occupation. Our limited evidence suggests that the re‐licensing of barbers in Alabama may already have had an effect on pay and on the number of barber shops. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png British Journal of Industrial Relations Wiley

There and Back Again: The De‐Licensing and Re‐Licensing of Barbers in Alabama

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References (28)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
© 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd and London School of Economics
ISSN
0007-1080
eISSN
1467-8543
DOI
10.1111/bjir.12438
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The economic effects of occupational licensing remain an understudied topic, but even less is known about the effects of the removal of licensing legislation. In this article, we take advantage of a natural experiment that occurred in the state of Alabama. Alabama was the last state to begin licensing barbers in 1973 and also the only state to de‐license barbers (in 1983). Relying on data from 1974 to 1994, we find evidence that barber de‐licensing reduced the average annual earnings of barbers as well as the number of cosmetologist employees per million residents in Alabama, although not all our results are statistically significant. We also find evidence that de‐licensing resulted in small increases in the number of barber shops and decreases in the number of cosmetology shops in Alabama. In recent decades, a number of attempts have been made to re‐license the occupation — most recently with a barber licensing bill that became law in September 2013. The result is that barbering in Alabama is once again a licensed occupation. Our limited evidence suggests that the re‐licensing of barbers in Alabama may already have had an effect on pay and on the number of barber shops.

Journal

British Journal of Industrial RelationsWiley

Published: Dec 1, 2019

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