Requiring a high school diploma may not produce better barbers, but it will produce fewer barbers, which means less competition for existing barbers. This is how occupational licensing generally works. Legislators know that existing members of an occupation will be grateful for the protection; the people who are left out (and the consumers who pay more) aren’t organized the way existing barbers, or opticians, or flower arrangers are. And if you get a license, and then want to move, you usually have to go through the licensing procedure again in your new state, because they want to limit competition from outsiders.Yes, protecting the public interest morphs into protecting the cartel, with the connivance of people who will pose questions such as, "You're making an issue out of a few extra cents on a haircut, while getting some additional health protection?"
It’s made worse by the fact that the regulatory boards are almost always made up of members of the profession being regulated. That means that the rules they make are almost always designed to protect their members, not the public, no matter what they say.
That will be on the final exam, regulated industries students.