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I use professional accountants' career histories from LinkedIn and the staggered state-level adoption of the 150-hour Rule (the Rule) as a natural experiment to test the Rule's impact on career outcomes. My analysis is premised on the economic theories of human capital, barriers to entry and screening. I find that the Rule is associated with increases in CPA exam pass rates and a reduction in candidate supply. My analysis of LinkedIn data shows that individuals subject to the Rule are more likely to be employed at a Big 4 public accounting firm and to specialize in tax. These individuals spend a larger part of their career in public accounting, have the same likelihood of promotion, but exit public accounting at faster rates than their non-Rule counterparts. Results suggest that the Rule has not been purely a screening mechanism nor has the screening/human capital effect dominated the other effects.
Occupational Licensure; CPA Licensure; Screening and Human Capital; Labor Market Outcomes; Pooled Synthetic Control; The 150-Hour Rule
Barrios, John M., "Accountant Quality: Evidence from LinkedIn" (2015). Open Access Dissertations. 1451.