How does occupational licensing affect entry into the medical field? An examination of emergency medical technicians

Aaron Yelowitz, Samuel J. Ingram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to temporary suspensions of many occupational licensing laws in an effort to manage surges in health care demand. The crisis highlights more general concerns about occupational licensing laws, yet convincing empirical evidence on the degree to which such laws have inhibited entry into health care professions is scarce. In this study, we indirectly examine how occupational licensing affects the choice to become an emergency medical technician (EMT) by exploiting the demand-side shock from the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We find suggestive evidence that while the demand-side shock from the ACA increased the likelihood of being an EMT, this effect was substantially moderated by more stringent occupational licensing laws. The implied effects for young individuals in the most careful specification suggests virtually complete offset; the ACA demand-side shock would increase entry by 18 percentage points, while occupational licensing restrictions reduce entry by a similar magnitude.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSouthern Economic Journal
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Southern Economic Association.

Keywords

  • emergency medical technicians
  • emergency services
  • occupational choice
  • occupational licensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics

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