Chambers College of Business and Economics
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.
Digital Commons Citation
Deyo, Darwyyn; Ampaabeng, Kofi; Norris, Conor; and Timmons, Edward, "Public interest or policy diffusion: Analyzing the effects of massage therapist municipal licensing" (2022). Economics Faculty Working Papers Series. 61.