Essays on Occupational Licensing

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Nandy, Protik
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Middle Tennessee State University
These essays analyze the labor market implications for workers in the health industry licensed by government agencies in the United States. Licensure is often justified on the grounds that it will protect the public from incompetent practitioners. In practice, however, occupational licensing is often used to restrict entry to a profession in order to raise wages for incumbent practitioners. The first essay examines how the expansion of optometrist scope of practice affects optometrist earnings and population eye health outcomes. Using the scope of practice expansion across states from 1976 to 2011, our estimation shows the expansion increased optometrist hourly wages by about 14 percent. In the second essay, we explore the effect of the Nurse Licensure Compact on telemedicine. The study shows that patients in NLC states used more telemedicine services from out-of-state providers than patients in non-NLC states. Our evidence indicates that the NLC reduces some barriers to practicing telemedicine for nurses. The third essay examines the possibility of using referenda to reform occupational licensing. More specifically, the essay examines how referendum would have impacted policy in regard to the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact in California
Occupational Licensing, Economics