Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



Chambers College of Business and Economics

Document Number





Occupational regulation is a labor market institution that has received a growing amount of attention by researchers. Existing research has explored the effects of occupational regulation on wages and employment. To the best of our knowledge, no existing study has estimated the effect of occupational credentials on unemployment duration in the US. We derive a random search model to explain differences in individual unemployment duration resulting from heterogeneous effects from licenses and certificates. Our model predicts that an occupational credential with a stronger signaling or human capital effect results in a shorter individual unemployment duration. To estimate the effect of occupational credentials, we use data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) for 2013-2019. We find that individual unemployment duration decreases on average by 3 to 9 days if an individual has a license. In contrast, certificates issued by businesses reduce individual unemployment duration by 24 to 27 days. Our results suggest that certificates issued by businesses contain stronger signals and human capital improvements than government issued licenses.

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Economics Commons