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Occupational Licensing Costs Missouri Consumers, Finds Show-Me Institute Study

December 4th, 2008 by mopns · No Comments

We’re wondering if Mr. Stokes performed any “field research” while researching his massage parlor study?

The licensing of occupations in Missouri could be could be costing consumers more for some services, according to a new case study being released by the Show-Me Institute. Although a nationwide survey by the Reason Foundation last year listed Missouri as the state with the fewest statewide occupational licensing requirements, many occupations are still subject to unnecessary restrictions on who may enter the profession. This drives up prices and can, in many cases, spur business owners to locate elsewhere.

Show-Me Institute policy analyst David Stokes has expanded on the Reason Foundation’s research with the release of this new case study, “Occupational Licensing of Massage Therapists in Missouri and Kansas,” which focuses in particular on massage therapists. The study compares the prices of massage therapy in Missouri, which licenses therapists statewide, and Kansas, which doesn’t. It looks at price comparisons in the metropolitan Kansas City market and compares Springfield to Wichita. The study documents how massage therapist licensing in Missouri leads to higher costs for consumers in Springfield, and leads to more businesses locating in on the Kansas side of the state line in Kansas City.

Occupational licensing is often sold as a simple way to ensure quality services. In reality, licensing is almost always sought by existing practitioners as a way to reduce competition and increase profits. It increases costs and is rarely necessary to protect the public.

To help the public understand how many occupations are licensed and where, Stokes has also helped to develop a new web-based tool mapping out all occupations that are locally licensed throughout Missouri. This tool, “Show-Me: The Licensing,” located at www.ShowMeLiving.org, reviews the local licensing requirements in every Missouri county, as well as in the state’s largest cities. Stokes finds that most Missouri counties license only the few occupations required by the state. However, the largest cities and counties do indeed require licenses in order to practice in a number of occupations.

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Tags: Show Me Institute

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  • 1 Jim Byrne // Dec 4, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    We all know that when we involve the government somebody is going to get screwed.

    I think licensing is used more to protect consumers than to limit the number of those offering the service.

    Massage therapy, unlike licensing intended to protect the consumer, is used more to curtail prostitution. I find it strange to include that profession in the study. -Am I just naive? Have there really been a lot of people injured by a massage therapist that lacked experience/education in their field?

    Does this story have a “happy ending”? Or does it leave you frustrated?

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