The Archbridge Institute, an Atlas Network partner in Washington D.C., is working to reduce occupational licensing laws across the United States. The organization researched and published an original dataset that documents the growth of occupational licensing requirements, and how they have hindered economic mobility in each state.
The research discovers that these regulations have starkly increased over the last several decades, and that they often target low-income citizens in low-income industries. According to the report, “the percentage of workers directly affected by occupational licensing has grown by at least 17 percentage points over the last 60 years.” Archbridge highlights how this barrier to the marketplace makes it extremely difficult, time-consuming, and costly for entrepreneurs and young workers to enter the labor market. “Aspiring massage therapists, for example, may be discouraged from entering the profession and this may potentially result in reductions in economic mobility and increases in income inequality.”
In February, Dr. Edward Timmons, the author of Archbridge’s study, was invited to Des Moines, Iowa to meet with lawmakers where he discussed the findings of the report, and answered questions about possible reforms. A few months later, the Iowa legislature approved a substantive licensing reform which was signed into law in June.
Atlas Network supported this initiative with a grant.