Occupational Licensing

Why Not License Nannies, If We Want a Nanny State?


Interesting thought experiment at Forbes from Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry on nannying and occupational licensing:

Now, various occupational licensing rules–for doctors, nurses, pharmacists, lawyers, car dealers, et al.–are typically justified on two grounds: safety andquality. A licensing rule ensures, we're told, that the performers of the occupation will do it more safely and with higher quality than in a laissez-faire system.

But see, here's the thing. In a modern democracy, there's no group with more political clout than "parents who can afford to hire nannies."

And most parents, we must be sure, care very deeply about the safety and quality of the childcare their children receive.

So if anyone actually believed that occupational licensing ensures safety and raises quality, we would have occupational licensing rules for nannies.

Instead, we see the opposite, in every country I'm aware of….

The example of the nanny really drove home for me the extent to which occupational licensing is a sham. Here is an occupation where the concerns of safety and quality are paramount to the consumers, and where these consumers have political clout such that if they demanded occupational licensing rules, they would be immediately enacted. But because it is the consumers who have the political clout, not the producers, occupational licensing rules were not enacted. And nobody–quite rightly!–views this as a problem.

I know people will counter with the idea that most licensed occupations require specialized training and skills that somehow markets could never sort out. I don't think that's usually true, though that is a more complicated argument. But I liked this simple, vivid way into thinking about the whys and needs of occupational licensing.

Some eye-opening facts on how occupational licensing really functions in these here United States, reporting on an Institute for Justice report on the topic. IJ fights for justice, which often means fighting against occupational licensing.

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  1. We should license politicians. They have to go through years of ethics and constitutional training before they can run for office, and if they do anything wrong, the licensing board can yank their license. No license, no office.

    1. Beat me to it.


      1. This may be the backdoor option for the Censor, who, of course, will control licensing and discipline.

        1. You said “backdoor”…huh huh, huh huh, huh huh….

            1. …but it feels so RIGHT

  2. Also, nanny porn? There must be some nanny porn out there…Interntz Rule #34…

    1. Mrs. Featherbottom?

  3. The best retort to those who support mandatory occupational licensing is to note that in the absence of such licensing practitioners would still have the option of voluntarily registering with various oversight organizations. Consumers would then have the option of either patronizing an unlicensed practitioner or one licensed by the customer’s authority of choice.

    A good example is the Better Business Bureau. To my knowledge no one is required to register with them, yet many companies choose to do so and many customers reward these companies for doing so.

    Mandatory occupational licensing is all about eliminating consumer choice. So why are its advocates anti-choice?

    1. There is no reason at all that certification can’t be handled privately. UL, for instance, for products, and there are other places where private certification works. It’s not likely to flourish, though, where government is involved.

      1. UL has the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval?

        1. Wow, that’s like recursive certification or something. Does UL certify Good Housekeeping?

          1. Good Housekeeping has never electrocuted anyone.


            UL Approved

  4. I would support licensing for blog posters, if it raised alt-text quality.

    Perhaps a lot of fathers who can afford nannies are more interested in the quality of the sex with young European girls than the child care portion?

    1. Nah, if that were the case they would go for Catholic girls. The guilt… oh, yes, the guilt. Wonderful stuff.

      1. That hasn’t really been the case in my experience. It’s a nice idea, but in practice it just means sex happens less often.

  5. The purpose of occupational licensing is to give the political class the means to deprive people of their livelihood.

    Three felonies a day, bitches. If your occupation requires a license, be careful about pissing off people in the political class. They may have someone watch you until you get caught in a felony, and now you need to find a new way to make a living.

  6. They don’t need to be European, you racist.

    1. European is a race? Who’s winning?

    2. Try dating in the 20-25 bracket near a major metro. Nanny is not an uncommon job for girls in this age, and at least around Boston it’s about 70-80% European girls.

      1. In Houston they are old Mexican ladies.

  7. They must have training on how not to shake a baby.

  8. Interestingly enough… when I read the headline to the post I thought it was going to be suggested that politicians require licensing and passing an exam of some sort before they were allowed to write laws. Now that would truly be licensing the nannies of the Nanny State.

  9. Wait, who says being a nanny *DOESN’T* require specialized skills and training.

    Chind Psychology
    First Aid
    Safe Food Prep

    The arguments for nannies requiring specialized training in those and other skills are just as valid as the arguments that a General Practitioner requires 10 years of college followed by 4 years in a residency program.

    1. So you’re saying that being a parent requires specialized skills and training?

      1. Can you refute that all the problems throughout the history of civilization are the fault of unlicensed parents recklessly breeding and improperly raising their progeny?

  10. Have we learned nothing from The Hand that Rocks the Cradle?

  11. The idea that occupational licensing ensures safety and quality is absolutely laughable to anyone that has ever ridden in a taxi in a major city.

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