Regulated professions a costly affair

Greek taxpayers have been left with a hefty bill to pay due to the government’s inability to push through reforms. Red tape alone costs Greece 6.8 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) or 16 billion euros per year, according to the European Commission, while the country’s 70 regulated professions cost another 4 billion euros. Regulated professions, also known as closed professions, are vocation groups whose number of participants is controlled by the state and are not open to competition. Experts say this results in higher prices, unemployment and poor-quality services for these closed professions, such as notaries and pharmacies. According to a study by KEPE, the Center of Planning and Economic Research, and research group Copenhagen Economics, the deregulation of 13 professions would add about 1.5 basis points to Greece’s GDP, increase real wages by 0.40 percent, boost consumption by 0.30 percent, while in the long run it could reduce the cost of services by up to 10.5 percent. Regulated professions cost 4 billion euros, which amounts to 1,000 euros per year for every household in the country. «Our country is not among the EU member states that would suffer heavier consequences (from the deregulation of professions),» said KEPE in a report.