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Professional licensing needs more competition, FTC tells Congress

The Federal Trade Commission doesn’t try to determine whether there is excessive regulation of occupations, or tell states how to administer their licensing laws, says Andrew Gavil, director of the FTC’s Office of Policy Planning. But in testimony July 16, he told the House Small Business Committee that “specific licensure regulations can have good, bad, or mixed competitive effects, depending on the circumstances.”  The FTC, he says, typically focuses on case-bycase competition analysis of particular restrictions in review of specific laws and regulations that may affect competition and urges that legislators and regulators to do the same.

Since the late 1970s, Gavil pointed out, the FTC has submitted hundreds of comments and amicus curiae briefs to boards, commissions, and courts addressing competition in professional regulation in the fields of engineering, optometry and opticianry, dentistry, medicine, nursing,real estate, accounting, veterinary medicine and the law. These advocacy efforts have focused on various restrictions on price competition, contracts or commercial practices, entry by competitors or potential competitors, and truthful and non-misleading advertising, he said. 
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