Public Interest or Policy Diffusion: Analyzing the Effects of Massage Therapist Municipal Licensing

50 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2022

See all articles by Darwyyn Deyo

Darwyyn Deyo

San Jose State University

Kofi Ampaabeng

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Conor Norris

Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation

Edward Timmons

West Virginia University - Department of Economics

Date Written: September 29, 2022

Abstract

Massage therapy is widely licensed by the states. However, municipalities also often passed massage therapist licensing, motivated by preventing prostitution. Using a novel dataset on municipal licensing and crime data from the FBI, we test if local massage therapist licensing reduced prostitution. We also test a policy diffusion hypothesis, in which cities pass responsive massage therapist licensing. We find that municipal massage therapist licensing does not lead to a reduction in prostitution, but we find support for the policy diffusion hypothesis, with municipalities up to 65% more likely to pass responsive licensing within three years of their neighbor doing so.

Keywords: economics of crime, occupational licensing, policing

JEL Classification: J44, K29, K42

Suggested Citation

Deyo, Darwyyn and Ampaabeng, Kofi and Norris, Conor and Timmons, Edward, Public Interest or Policy Diffusion: Analyzing the Effects of Massage Therapist Municipal Licensing (September 29, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4240858 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4240858

Darwyyn Deyo

San Jose State University ( email )

San Jose, CA 95192
United States

Kofi Ampaabeng

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Conor Norris

Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation ( email )

Morgantown, WV 26506
United States

Edward Timmons (Contact Author)

West Virginia University - Department of Economics ( email )

Morgantown, WV 26506
United States

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