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the nature of economic mobility.
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The Latest Publications
Universal Recognition: Labor Market Effects and Best Practices for Policymakers
Click here to open the PDF in a new tab. Introduction Universal recognition is the most widely adopted occupational licensing reform in U.S. history. Since 2013, 21 states have adopted the policy, which allows an individual with an out-of-state license to obtain a new...
State Occupational Licensing Index 2023
Click here to open the PDF in a new tab. Overview Occupational licensing affects more than 20 percent of workers in the United States. The extent of occupational licensing greatly differs across states. From both a research and public policy standpoint, it is...
Americans Yearn for Tradition—Old and New—This Holiday Season
This article was originally published in the Harris Poll. Before the start of the winter holiday season—defined as the period beginning in mid-November and running through New Year’s Day—The Human Flourishing Lab at The Archbridge Institute and The Harris Poll...
Economic Mobility, Business Dynamism, and Barriers to Entrepreneurship: A Preliminary Examination
Click here to open the PDF in a new tab. Key Findings: Entrepreneurship and economic mobility have both been discussed in the academic literature, but the environment for entrepreneurship warrants closer examination. While the United States, compared to other...
The Social Power of Patriotism: Americans Who Are Proud of Their National Identity Are More Likely To Trust Their Fellow Citizens
Click here to open the PDF in a new tab. Key Findings: Most Americans (61%) agree that most of their fellow Americans can be trusted. This includes 63% of men and 58% of women. There are no differences in social trust between political groups. Around 60% of liberals,...
Personal Independence Behind Declining Birth Rates
This article was originally published in the Harris Poll. World fertility rates—defined by the World Bank as “the number of children that would be born to a woman if she were to live to the end of her childbearing years and bear children in accordance with...
The Meaning Mindset: Existential Agency in America
Click here to open the PDF in a new tab. Key Findings: Most Americans (69%) agree or strongly agree that they have the power to live a meaningful life (high existential agency). This is the case for both men and women and across regions of the country. The percent of...
American Dream 2022 Snapshot: The Health and State of the American Dream
Click here to open the PDF in a new tab. The Survey Results Include the Following Five Key Findings:1) As in previous years most Americans, regardless of race, income, or education, believe that they haveeither achieved the American Dream or are on their way to...
Marginal Tax Rates and Economic Opportunity
Click here to open the PDF in a new tab. Key Findings: The marginal tax wedge is relevant for understanding how workers might benefit (or not) from an increase in pay once taxes enter the picture. Marginal tax wedges might deter workers from pursuing additional income...
Economic Mobility, the Rule of Law, and Property Rights Protection
Click here to open the PDF in a new tab. The institutional environment, specifically the quality of legal systems and protection of property rights, are often ignored in the economic mobility literature. Most of the research on mobility focuses on education and...
Patriotic Progress: National Pride and Optimism about the Future
Click here to open the PDF in a new tab. Optimism plays a central role in human progress. Therefore, it is concerning that many Americans are pessimistic about the future of the United States and its role in the world. For example, according to a Pew Research Center...
Reforming California’s subsidized childcare toward marriage neutrality
Click here to open the PDF in a new tab. America’s safety net has alleviated severe poverty but comes with unintended consequences. For the most part, program eligibility is determined by household income and makes no adjustment for households where two married adults...
¿Subir o caer de la escalera?: Movilidad social en Latinoamérica
This publication (Only available in Spanish) centers around the concern that there is still no consensus on what the main barriers to social mobility are. In collaboration with four stellar think tanks in Latin America: Libertad y Progreso from Argentina, Libertad y...
Climbing the ladder or falling off it: Essays on Economic Mobility in Europe
This publication centers around the concern that there is still no consensus on what the main barriers to social mobility are. In collaboration with five stellar European think tanks: the Centre for Political Studies in Denmark, Timbro in Sweden, the Lithuanian Free...
Economic Mobility in America a State of the Art Primer Part 3: Trends in the United States
Click here to open the PDF in a new tab. Is the American Dream dying? A number of studies have examined this question by looking at trends in intergenerational economic mobility. However, studies using different datasets have produced different results. Few studies...
Existential Agency in America
Click here to view PDF in a new tab. Existential psychology plays a central role in human progress and flourishing, in part, because meaning in life is a self-regulatory and motivational resource that helps people live healthy, productive, prosocial, and goal-oriented...
American Dream 2021 Snapshot: How Americans view the American Dream and Economic Mobility
Click here to open the PDF in a new tab. THE SURVEY RESULTS INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING SEVEN KEY FINDINGS:1) Most Americans, regardless of race, income, or education, believe that they have either achieved the American Dream or are on their way to achieving it.2) Most...
Not-So Sweet Home Alabama: How Licensing Holds Back The Yellowhammer State
As 2020, a year that most of us would likely sooner forget, fades into the rearview mirror, the labor market nationally continues to rebound from the significant downturn resulting from COVID-19 and the associated state policies meant to reduce the spread of the disease.
Who Is Proud To Be An American?
Regardless of political ideology, religion, race/ethnicity, gender, age, education level, or income, most Americans are proud to be American.
Reforming Welfare to Reduce Marriage Penalties and Put Children First
If we are concerned about poverty, inequality, and social mobility, we should be concerned about the collapse of marriage and widespread father-absence–particularly among America’s poor and working-class.
American Dream 2020 Snapshot
In our currently polarized country, there seem to be very few things that can bring us together. The sense of tribalism in our culture and politics has been magnified by the Coronavirus pandemic—which many of us hoped might bring a sense of unity to the country in the fight against a common enemy.
Societies everywhere face the problems of poverty, inequality, and economic and social immobility. The severity of these problems differs by country. Governments everywhere, including those in the United States (U.S.), are enacting policies to alleviate them.
Why Meaning Matters For Freedom And Flourishing
May 2020Clay Routledge Click here to open the PDF in a new Tab Social, behavioral, and health scientists are increasingly appreciating how important meaning in life is to both mental and physical wellbeing. People who view their lives as full of meaning and purpose...
Field of Broken Dreams: How Licensing Limits Opportunity in The Hawkeye State
February 2020 Edward Timmons, PhDConor Norris, MAKnee Center for the Study of Occupational RegulationSaint Francis University Click Here to Open the PDF in a New Tab Why Does Occupational Licensing Matter in the Hawkeye State? As 2019 came to a close, the labor market...
Deserting Workers? Barriers to Work in New Mexico
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.
Economic Mobility in America, Part Two
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.
The Importance of Structural Factors in Understanding Economic Mobility
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.
Too Much License?
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.
Skill Formation and the Minimum Wage
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.
Barriers to Mobility
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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