Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy



First Adviser

Thornton, Robert J.

Other advisers/committee members

Thornton, Robert J.; Meyerhoefer, Chad D.; Munley, Vincent G.; Myers, David H.


This dissertation examines the economic effects of occupational regulation of dietitians and nutritionists (DNs) and social workers (SWs). Both occupations require a bachelor’s degree, employ high percentages of female, part time, and institutional workers, have strong occupational associations, and are subject to different types of regulation in different states. Models for the effect of regulation on numbers and wages of practitioners use individual-level data from the 1980, 1990, and 2000 5% Census surveys and control for regulation via a dummy variable (for linear effects) or a function of years of regulation (for non-linear effects). Models for the effect of regulation on quality of service use individual-level data from the 1984 through 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) surveys and measure quality of service in terms of health indicator variables derived from survey questions. Empirical models include OLS, FE, and 2SLS models with IVs for regulation variables. Results are found for the effect of any regulation, regulation that is named licensure (with or without practice restriction), or licensure on the number of practitioners, wages, and quality of service. I find no evidence that regulation reduces the number of DN or SW practitioners, but licensure of DNs is associated with an increase in the number of DNs in job positions that are exempt from regulation. Any regulation of DNs and regulation named licensure of SWs have small, positive, although not significant, impacts on wages. I find positive elasticities of wages with respect to years of regulation for both DNs and SWs. I also find small improvements in the quality of service due to any regulation of DNs and licensure of SWs. Results for different regulation levels are similar to those for licensure.

Included in

Economics Commons