The European Journal of Comparative Economics

ISSN: 1824-2979

EJCE Year: 2013, August. Volume: 10 - Issue: 2

From Certification To Licensure: Evidence From Registered And Practical Nurses In The United States, 1950-1970

by Marc T. Law ; Mindy S. Marks

Start page: 177 - End page: 198

Keywords: occupational licensing; regulation; political economy

Jel code: K2; J2; J44; J88



In this paper we use individual-level census data on registered and practical nurses in the United States from 1950-70 to determine the effect that the switch from certification to licensure had on wages and participation in the registered and practical nurse professions. We examine these occupations to take advantage of a quasi-experiment afforded by the fact that, by the beginning of our sample, all states already had certification in place and some states already required a license. During the subsequent decade several states switched from certification to a mandatory licensing regime while others did not. Accordingly, we infer the effect of licensure in a differences-in-differences framework that uses states that did not change their regulatory regime as a control. Interestingly, we find that the shift from certification to mandatory licensing had little to no effect on the wages or the participation rate of practical and registered nurses.

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