In this study we use theories of professional regulation to examine state conformity with model provisions of the 1997 Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA). We posit that three of the 1997 UAA provisions restricted the licensing of certified public accountants (CPAs) because they increased educational requirements and that three provisions were economic‐service‐related because they enhanced interstate and international reciprocity. We contrast public interest, quality‐demand, and capture theories to develop contemporaneous empirical measures to explain the degree to which a state's laws conformed to each set of provisions. We found that our three capture‐theory variables—(1) the ratio of the number of CPAs to the number noncertified public accountants (NPA) in a given state, (2) the percentage of CPAs who belong to a state's Society of CPAs, and (3) the percent of a state's population over 25 years of age without a college education—were directly related to a state's conformity with restrictive provisions of the UAA. The overall model for economic‐service‐related provisions was marginally significant, however, we further argue that these latter results also may be evidence of regulatory capture.

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