Edited by David Levi-Faur
Chapter 33: Regulation of Professions
Nuno Garoupa Generally, a profession can be defined as an occupation with the following general characteristics: it requires a specialized skill, partially or fully acquired by intellectual training; it provides a service calling for a high degree of integrity; and it involves direct or fiduciary relations with clients (Ogus, 1994: 216). Certain professions, namely lawyers, notaries, physicians, pharmacists, accountants, architects and engineers, appear to be relatively highly regulated. A trend of more state intervention in the regulation of professions and a decline in self-regulation has been observed in recent times. For many decades formal regulation of professional services was a feature of American legal exceptionalism, whereas Europeans tended to rely more on informal, tacit and consensual mechanisms that were in part conducive to self-regulation. Independent regulatory authorities using new techniques of formal regulation, including more precise rules, paved the way in the 1980s. Quite expectedly, this approach has proliferated into the regulation of professions. Statute law used to play a limited role, whereas selfregulatory rules essentially emerged from professional societies and associations across Europe. Currently, state interventionism, by governments and competition authorities, has reshaped the regulatory framework of the professions throughout Europe. In fact, professional regulatory activities have been included in the current public policy agenda.1 The current developments on the regulation of professions can be understood in the larger context of regulation-for-competition (Levi-Faur, 2011). More than an era of deregulation of professional services, we can observe a pattern of reregulation with the explicit goal of promoting more competition and...
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