Rethinking professional regulation

Fair trading regulation Australia

Competitive professional regulation would lead to lower costs for consumers, argues Krystian Seibert.

Many professions, such as medicine, dentistry, law, and accountancy, are very highly regulated, and the level of professional regulation is increasing across other industries. The extent of regulation is generally determined by professional regulatory bodies, which set to education and training requirements, administer examinations, and monitor the conduct of members of their professions.

Rather than simply adopting regulations intended to protect consumers, regulators have a government-granted monopoly to adopt regulations that restrict entry into their particular professions. If they can restrict entry, they can restrict competition, enabling their members to charge higher fees for their services.

Removing the monopoly status of professional regulators and introducing competitive regulation would increase competition and apply market forces to professional regulation. Such competitive regulation would maintain quality standards and lead to lower fees for professional services to the benefit of consumers.

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