Friday, January 12, 2018


I don't have much to say or add.  This is a great summary of policy recommendations for the California housing market.  Title: "25 Solutions From A Builder’s Perspective To Fix The California Housing Crisis"

Also, here is an excerpt from a recent EconTalk podcast with Brink Lindsey and Steven Teles.  It is on the topic of occupational licensing.  I generally find that it is hard to exaggerate how much the defense of licensing depends on assumptions that vastly overstate the utility of licensing and understate the amount of coordination and safety we take for granted in ways that have nothing to do with licensing. Lindsey makes a great point regarding that.

Brink Lindsey: Sure. Yeah, you're absolutely right that--licensing doesn't do its work by insuring that incredibly complicated tasks are performed by highly trained people. So, you use the example, 'Of course, we don't want somebody walking off the street doing heart surgery.' But the fact is, that there is no licensing of heart surgeons. There's only licensing of general practitioners. If you complete a U.S. residency in anything, and pass a state medical exam, you are a doctor--licensed to practice medicine. So, if you complete a residency in podiatry and pass a state licensing exam, you are legally entitled to do heart transplants or brain surgery or anything you can convince anybody to let you do. But, of course, that's not going to happen, because no practice will hire you; no hospital will give you admitting or surgical privileges. Simple commercial incentives backstopped by concerns about malpractice liability will suffice to ensure that highly complicated tasks are performed by highly trained people. What licensing does is ensure that tasks that don't require all that extensive training are still performed by highly trained people. And they have a captive audience and they can overcharge for it. So, there's just no problem with, you know, wildcat brain surgery. But, there's a lot of problem with people having to pay too much to get a finger splinted, or to check out for an ear infection, or to do lots of other humdrum things that mid-level professionals like nurse practitioners could perform fine but that in most states are not allowed to do so because of the licensing regime.


  1. If someone put a gun to my head, I might accede to licensing for doctors.

    For lawyers? Shoot me.

  2. I'm a doctor. I read Friedman on licensing in Capitalism and Freedom any years ago. Was very angry with what I read. After thinking about what he said for about six months I came to agree with him. In fact, I think medical licensing is what drove Europe and the US into social democracy. Rather than reform (eliminate) the reforms of the progressives, they tried to use social solutions to pay the bills that progressivism drove up with their policies.

    1. Interesting. Thanks for the input. It seems like a running problem with governance - limit supply and then subsidize demand to try to make up for it. So housing, health, and education are sucking up the economy.