New Publication: Occupational Licensing and Interstate Migration

Occupational Licensing and Interstate Migration in the United States

Abstract: The empirical evidence regarding the effects of state occupational licensing practices on interstate migration in the United States is mixed. This article uses a standardized and established methodology—founded in the tradition of gravity models and common across the social sciences—to evaluate the relationship between occupational licensing and migration flows between states. The analysis focuses on the most general of relationships: the volume of migration from each state to another state as a function of the percentage of workers in licensed occupations. Overall, state licensing rates appear to have no effect on interstate migration flows; as a result, the evidence suggests that federal policy interventions, such as standardizing occupational licensing across the states, are not indicated.

Citation and Link: Thomas J. Cooke, Mark Ellis, and Richard Wright, “Occupational licensing and interstate migration in the United States,” Monthly Labor Review, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, August 2022,