Occupational licensing is a way to preserve monopolies and keep willing people out of work.

Thus the state of Indiana is to be applauded for joining 22 other states in, as the Wall Street Journal puts it in an editorial this morning, freeing the hair braiders. The editorial notes:

Unlike some hair treatments, braiding doesn’t use chemicals like dyes or relaxers, or hot tools like flat-irons. Many hair braiders are immigrants or African-Americans and the technique is often passed down from mother to daughter. Most cosmetology schools don’t even teach it, but in 1987 the state passed licensing requirements that forced many practitioners to the sidelines.

Indianapolis resident Nicole Barnes-Thomas had been braiding since she was a teenager. But to work as a braider in Indiana, she would have needed 1,500 hours of schooling at a cost north of $10,000 for a state license. The Institute for Justice helped bring the issue to the attention of the state legislature on behalf of Ms. Barnes-Thomas with the help of GOP state Representative Timothy Wesco. Governor Eric Holcomb signed the bill, making Indiana the third state in recent months to exempt the braiders, following Kentucky and South Dakota.

This was a government regulation that thwarts entrepreneurship.