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The Focus of Our Research

Our multidisciplinary work focuses on researching the structural determinants of economic mobility and promoting solutions that remove barriers to individual achievement, earned success and opportunity.

Our initial research will focus on the relationships between income mobility and entrepreneurship, occupational licensing, and the sharing economy. Future issues that we plan to target include business dynamism, rule of law, regulation, education, trade, monetary policy, property rights and character development.

To accomplish our research objectives, we are looking to fund new research and innovative approaches that tackle various gaps in public policy research on economic mobility and its structural indicators. To propose a paper, please send a one-page proposal with a title, timeline and description of research methodology to research@archbridgeinstitute.org.

In “Deserting Workers? Barriers to Work in New Mexico,” Dr. Edward Timmons and Conor Norris highlight how occupational licensing restrictions are holding back New Mexicans attempting to climb the income ladder. Building on previous research that tracked state-by-state growth in low- to moderate-income occupations requiring a license, the researchers also suggest solutions for policymakers looking to expand economic opportunities.
In the second part of our three-part primer on economic mobility in the US, this latest report by Dr. Scott Winship reassesses the cross-national evidence on intergenerational economic mobility, updates previous conclusions by reviewing more recent research and reevaluates the older literature. Dr. Winship challenges the conventional wisdom of upward mobility highlights previously neglected nuances in the literature that complicate the simple conclusion that the fates of American children are more tied to their family circumstances than is true of children in other countries.
Gonzalo Schwarz, president and CEO of the Archbridge Institute, reviews the literature and examines recent studies on the importance of structural factors in understanding economic mobility. He finds that the analysis raises quite a few questions and notes that expanding the opportunity to climb the income ladder should be the main focus of the inequality and mobility debate.
Is occupational licensing preventing individuals from earning more than their parents? Professors Edward Timmons and Brian Meehan together with researchers Andrew Meehan and John Hazenstab take a closer look at this question to discover how recent increases in occupational licensing requirements are associated with economic mobility.
Director of Programs Ben Wilterdink reviews the literature and examines recent studies on the connections between minimum wage increases, the availability of entry-level work, and trends in teenage employment. He finds that the current discussions about increasing the minimum wage overlook some far-reaching consequences for individuals and their ability learn the skills needed for future economic success.
In “Barriers to Mobility: Understanding the Relationship Between Growth in Occupational Licensing and Economic Mobility,” economists Brian Meehan, Edward Timmons, and Andrew Meehan track the state-by-state growth in low- to moderate-income occupations requiring a license from 1993 to 2012 and compare it to rates of economic mobility. The researchers conclude that, although further research is needed, there is evidence to suggest that the growth in occupational licensing requirements negatively affects economic mobility.

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