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.
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.
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.
Across the globe, people always seek more opportunity for themselves and for their children. The last several decades have seen a steady increase in living standards, particularly in wealthy nations—but has this translated into feelings of better opportunities for success than previous generations? To answer this question, and others related to attitudes regarding economic opportunity and mobility, Archbridge Institute Honorary Advisor Dr. Scott Winship analyzes poll results from rich nations and compares them to historical trends.

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