Regulation through titling laws: A case study of occupational regulation


  • Dick M. Carpenter II

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute for Justice, Arlington, VA, and Leadership, Research, and Foundations, the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO, USA
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Dick M. Carpenter II, Institute for Justice, and the University of Colorado, 16630 Mesquite Road, Peyton, CO 80831, USA. Email:;


This case study examines a form of occupational regulation infrequently examined in academic literature – titling laws. These laws regulate who may legally use a phrase, or title, to describe their work to the public. Focusing on the interior design industry, this article demonstrates how industry leaders use titling laws as the first step in a push for full occupational licensure. In so doing, they allege a need for regulation out of concern for public health and safety, but as data in this case study indicate, there appears to be no threat to public health and safety from unregulated interior designers. Instead, designers advocate for increased regulation of their own industry, through the evolution of titling laws to full licensure, due to the benefits it affords them.