The Nanny State Leaves Nannies Alone

While hiring a nanny for his daughter, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry realized that there are “no occupational licensing rules for nannies as there are for, say, teachers and nurses.” He argues that “if anyone actually believed that occupational licensing ensures safety and raises quality, we would have occupational licensing rules for nannies”:

Somehow, most parents entrust their children to nannies without a law to say who can be a nanny and who may not and, somehow, the system works.

The example of the nanny really drove home for me the extent to which occupational licensing is a sham. Here is an occupation where the concerns of safety and quality are paramount to the consumers, and where these consumers have political clout such that if they demanded occupational licensing rules, they would be immediately enacted. But because it is the consumers who have the political clout, not the producers, occupational licensing rules were not enacted. And nobody–quite rightly!–views this as a problem.