Labor Market Effects of Spatial Licensing Requirements: Evidence from CPA Mobility
Journal of Accounting Research, Volume 59, Issue 1
Posted: 18 Mar 2021
Date Written: March 1, 2021
We exploit the staggered introduction of CPA Mobility provisions in the United States to study the effects of spatial licensing requirements on the labor market for accounting professionals. Specifically, we examine whether the removal of licensing‐induced geographic barriers affects CPA wages and employment levels, as well as the pricing and quality of professional services. We find that, subsequent to the adoption of CPA Mobility provisions, wages of accounting professionals decrease, whereas employment levels are unaffected. The documented wage effect stems from smaller CPA firms, is more pronounced for CPAs holding senior positions, and persists over time. We also find that service prices decline and that this effect is concentrated in local CPA firms. Moreover, we document that the increased wage and price pressure is not associated with deteriorating service quality. Collectively, our results suggest that the removal of occupational licensing barriers has sizable effects on labor supply and service prices. Our findings inform the current regulatory debate on occupational licensing.
Keywords: occupational licensing; CPA licensure; CPA Mobility; labor market outcomes; auditing
JEL Classification: D45, J20, K20, L51, M41, M42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation