Edward J. Timmons , Anna Mills | Feb 17, 2015
In a new study for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, scholars Anna Mills and Edward J. Timmons examine differences in licensing requirements state-to-state and over time to explore the effect that optician licensing has on practitioner earnings.
Bruce Yandle | Mar 01, 2013
There was only one lane open as I made my trip to Atlanta; the other three were blocked with those unhappy yellow and black make-believe barrels used by the highway folks. Traffic flow was constrained by efforts to repair potholes and broken pavement. We in the slow lane had little choice in the matter. Instead of 70, we were slowed to 20 miles per hour. We had to accept our fate, or find another route at the next exit.
Adam Thierer | Mar 19, 2012
The problems long associated with regulating public utilities could occur with social networks in the absence of competitive pressure.
Noel D. Johnson, Matthew Mitchell, Steven Yamarik | Jun 28, 2011
In this paper, the authors investigate whether laws restricting fiscal policies across U.S. states lead politicians to regulate more instead.
Daniel M. Rothschild | Jan 18, 2011
This Mercatus on Policy paper shares eleven bold reform ideas that could help states balance their 2012 budgets and avoid boom-and-bust budgeting cycles in the future.
Eileen Norcross | Jan 13, 2011
Fiscal Year 2011 marks Maryland's third year of recession and fifth year of structural deficits. This article highlights how Maryland started on this path of fiscal instability and what the future holds if this trajectory continues.

Research Summaries & Toolkits

Expert Commentary

Feb 17, 2015

Our study is just a glimpse of the inefficiency and hardship generated by unnecessary occupational licensing laws. Countless low income workers are being forced to jump through arbitrary hoops to obtain employment with very little observable benefit accruing to consumers.
Jun 16, 2014

Consider the “Red Flag Laws” of the late 19th century, which required early automobiles traveling on roads to be preceded by a man on foot waving a red flag in order to warn others on horses of the vehicle’s approach.
Jul 21, 2013

If the various rankings that measure “business friendliness” across the country are any indication, Kentucky is stuck in the economic doldrums. In the most recent edition of CNBC’s “America’s Top States for Business,” released earlier this month, the Bluegrass State comes in at No. 36 for the second year in a row. In fact, for the last five years Kentucky placed in the bottom half of most state economic and business rankings.
National Review Online
Jul 17, 2013

In the mid-1980s, about 800 professions were licensed in at least one state. Today, at least 1,100 are, according to the Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation, a trade group for regulatory bodies. Among the professions licensed by one or more states: florists, interior designers, private detectives, hearing-aid fitters, conveyor-belt operators and retailers of frozen desserts.
By Nita Ghei |
Jul 15, 2013

Wal-Mart swiftly announced the abandonment of plans to open at least three stores in the District of Columbia following a vote by the city council to pass the Large Retailer Accountability Act, which effectively mandated a super minimum wage of $12.50 an hour that applied only to Wal-Mart.
Apr 08, 2013

If you’re finding it harder and harder to live in California, you’re not alone.




Matthew Mitchell, Michael Leland | July 10, 2014
In this 20 minute podcast, Senior Research Fellow Matthew Mitchell and Associate Director of State Relations Michael Leland discuss taxi regulations that create barriers to entry for ridesharing applications and keep innovators from competing to create the best services available to consumers. Matt discusses red tape holding back taxi companies and how state regulators can move forward in a way that encourages innovation and is fair to existing firms.


Media Clippings

Matthew Mitchell | Jul 28, 2013
The Governor’s Opportunity Fund — just one of numerous economic-incentive programs operated by the state — is something like a slush fund the governor can use to “secure a business location or expansion project.”…
Eileen Norcross, Matthew Mitchell, | Jul 23, 2013
Detroit reports an unfunded pension liability of $634 million, but using more accurate accounting methods it's closer to $3.5 billion.
Matthew Mitchell | Jul 15, 2013
The scandal threatening McDonnell’s career is the likely outcome when people believe the governor’s job description entails promoting businesses, said Matthew Mitchell, a senior research fellow with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Fairfax.
Matthew Mitchell | Jul 11, 2013
[A]s my research has emphasized, privileges lead to a host of economic problems because they undermine competition, encourage wasteful privilege-seeking, and put politicians rather than consumers in charge of allocating capital and resources.
Matthew Mitchell | Jun 17, 2013
"It [an incentive program geared toward a specific company] tends to undermine competition and lead to monopolistic behavior, so that means higher prices for consumers, potentially higher profits for producers,"
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