Matt Yglesias offers commentary on requiring mandatory of licensure for cutting hair.

Regulation of this sort seems totally unnecessary. People don’t die of bad haircuts, and since hairstyle is a quintessential matter of taste there’s absolutely no reason to think consumers can’t figure out for themselves who has a decent reputation as a cutter of hair…But what’s more, even if regulation were somehow a good idea, the composition of the board couldn’t possibly serve a legitimate consumer protection function. It’s overwhelmingly composed of people from the industry whose incentive is to limit competition and raise prices.

…The only people who are ever going to really care about who sits on the board and what it does are the incumbent businesses looking to limit competition. It’s not the biggest deal in the world (trivial even compared to similar things like rules making it hard for dental hygenists to clean teeth without giving dentists a cut), but the upshot is higher prices for consumers and barriers to upward mobility for people who want to cut hair in exchange for money.

See more about the downsides of occupational licensure herehere, and here.

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