I suggest that, at the outset, we distinguish between occupational licensure and professional licensure as does the article you cite.
I, too, searched for and did not find an exhaustive study the relationship between professional licensure and service quality/public protection.
As a second best, I searched for engineering failures drawn from a range of disciplines and found disasters that involved chemical, civil, electrical, industrial, mechanical, metallurgical, and petroleum engineering and engineers.
I do not claim that the failures I studied are a sample, in a statistical sense, of the engineering-related failures population. After studying many such disasters, one realizes they are individually and collectively complex. I could not define the population of disasters, let alone select a representative subset.
Having offered this caveat, I believe that we benefit from looking at failures, as unpleasant as most are because of the resulting injuries, deaths, and destruction and the often, failed engineers and engineering. Patterns tend to arise and we can learn from them.
I present my research results in Chapter 3 of my recently published book Engineering's Public-Protection Predicament. (The book, available as paperback or e-book, is introduced here: http://www.helpingyouengineeryourfuture.com/managing-leading-books.htm )
Besides reviewing the literature, I studied engineering disasters produced by Ford, Morton-Thiokol, GM, BP, amusement ride "designers," Columbia Gas, and Boeing. The common factor? Organizations operating under engineering licensure-exemption laws tend to develop bottom-line first cultures. At best, public protection comes in a distant second resulting in unnecessary injuries, deaths, and destruction.
Essentially all states (Arkansas and Oklahoma excepted) and DC have engineering licensure law exemptions. In my view, those laws tend to create, from the top down, powerful, pervasive, and destructive cultures.
Hospitals must have licensed physicians in charge of surgery, law firms must have licensed attorneys in charge of legal services, and veterinary clinics must place licensed vets in charge of neutering and spaying. In striking contrast, and because of massive licensure-exemption laws, the vast majority of engineers who work for industries, manufacturers, utilities, and government entities and produce massive amounts of risky products, facilities, structures, systems do so without the guidance of accountable and competent PEs, whose paramount responsibility is public protection.
Stu Walesh PhD, PE
Consultant - Teacher - Author
Sent: 09-19-2021 06:35 AM
From: David Devine
Subject: Licensure - evidence of effectiveness
I was reading an article that I stumbled upon based on my involvement with ASCE & licensure issues. The article includes the following:
"Yet research provides scant evidence that licensing does what it is supposed to do-raise the quality of services and protect consumers. Instead, licensing laws often protect those who already have licenses from competition, keeping newcomers out and prices high."
I wondered about what that research may be and also what research there may be to the contrary. Can anyone offer evidence of research or even a study or investigation of the topic. I have been involved with licensure for many years, including being Chair of the former ASCE Committee on Licensure and Ethics. It seems to me that much of the discussion of licensure is based on anecdote rather than research, study, or at least something more than anecdote.
David Devine P.E., P.S., M.ASCE
Fort Wayne IN