Public Interest or Policy Diffusion: Analyzing the Effects of Massage Therapist Municipal Licensing
50 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2022
Date Written: September 29, 2022
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: Suggested Citation