I don't write much about the projects I work on during the day, mostly because I assume that anyone interested is already following the Institute for Justice on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or any of the other countless ways to keep up to speed with our activities. Besides, a lot of the work I do is pretty mundane from an outside perspective. Updating the web site content management system and migrating an operations database from one version to the next is certainly important, but it isn't glamorous.
This morning though, we launched a project I was involved in that has been a few years in the making. The Institute for Justice's License to Work report is the first national study to measure how burdensome occupational licensing laws are for lower-income workers and aspiring entrepreneurs. We examined licensing requirements for 102 low- and moderate-income occupations -- such as barber, massage therapist and preschool teacher -- across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and ranked each state and occupation according to how burdensome these licensing requirements are.
We had a whole team of people on this project, doing everything from gathering data to crunching the numbers to designing the report. As usual, we have an incredible video to go with the launch that Isaac put a lot of time into.
Most of the work I did was translating the data into an interactive online data model to allow visitors to our web site to view the report at the state or occupation level. For example, you can view the breakdown of occupational licensing data for the state of Ohio on the License to Work site by visiting http://ij.org/ol/OH. Similarly, you can view reports for how widespread licensing is for a given occupation, interior design for one, by visiting each occupation's designated page.
It's pretty common that a task I take on at work stretches me a bit, but this project took this to the extreme. It made me use every bit of knowledge I had learned and forgot in advanced statistics class (Thanks Dr. Case!) and really twisted my brain into knots from time to time, but I'm really pleased with how it turned out. It's a pretty fascinating study, and if you're interested you can check out the full report at http://ij.org/LicenseToWork.