Panel Paper: The Labor Market Consequences of Regulating Similar Occupations: The Licensing of Occupational and Physical Therapists

Saturday, November 8, 2014 : 2:05 PM
Enchantment Ballroom E (Hyatt)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Morris Kleiner, University of Minnesota and Jing Cai, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research
This study shows the influence of occupational licensing on two occupations that provide similar services, occupational therapists and physical therapists.  Most of the tasks for these two occupations differ, but there are several jobs where there is an overlap, and individuals in both occupations can legally perform them.  We empirically examine how these two occupations interact with one another in the labor market on wage determination and employment.  Unlike previous studies, we examine two occupations that are female dominated occupations within the profession and among its leadership.  Our results show that occupational licensing can raise the wages of members of both occupations, but that the duration of occupational licensing statues is the dominant influence on wage determination. Occupational licensing also is associated with a reduction in annual hours worked and in the relative numbers of members of the profession.  Moreover, the ability of physical therapists to have direct access to patients is associated with a reduction in hourly earnings for occupational therapists, who do not have these legal rights, suggesting some substitution for certain services across the two occupations. The ability of these two occupations to be both complements and substitutes for one another provides new evidence on how regulated occupations that are similar influence one another.

Full Paper: