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Occupational Licensing and Labor Market Fluidity
We show that occupational licensing has significant negative effects on labor market fluidity defined as cross-occupation mobility. Using a balanced panel of workers constructed from the CPS and SIPP data, we analyze the link between occupational licensing and labor market outcomes. We find that workers with a government-issued occupational license experience churn rates significantly lower than those of non-licensed workers. Specifically, licensed workers are 24% less likely to switch occupations and 3% less likely to become unemployed in the following year. Moreover, occupational licensing ...
Is Occupational Licensing a Barrier to Interstate Migration?
Occupational licensure, one of the most significant labor market regulations in the United States, may restrict the interstate movement of workers. We analyze the interstate migration of 22 licensed occupations. Using an empirical strategy that controls for unobservable characteristics that drive long-distance moves, we find that the between-state migration rate for individuals in occupations with state-specific licensing exam requirements is 36 percent lower relative to members of other occupations. Members of licensed occupations with national licensing exams show no evidence of limited ...
Monopolies: Silent Spreaders of Poverty and Economic Inequality
The Covid-19 crisis has exposed the vast inequalities that exist within the US economy. As the virus has spread silently, it has laid bare other crises that face our nation---especially the economic vulnerabilities of the country's poor and marginalized. Many of these vulnerabilities can, in fact, be traced back to a single cause that itself has spread silently, but over the last several decades, not months: Monopolies. That monopolies are "silent spreaders of poverty and economic inequality" was well known to economic and legal scholars of the 1930s and 1940s. Wendell Berge, who was ...
Solving the Housing Crisis will Require Fighting Monopolies in Construction
U.S. government concerns about great disparities in housing conditions are at least 100 years old. For the first 50 years of this period, U.S. housing crises were widely considered to stem from the failure of the construction industry to adopt new technology -- in particular, factory production methods. The introduction of these methods in many industries had already greatly narrowed the quality of goods consumed by low- and high-income Americans. It was widely known why the industry failed to adopt these methods: Monopolies in traditional construction blocked and sabotaged them. Very little ...
Because of Monopolies, Income Inequality Significantly Understates Economic Inequality
In social science research, household income is widely used as a stand-in for, or approximation to, the economic well-being of households. In a parallel way, income-inequality has been employed as a stand-in for inequality of economic well-being, or for brevity, "economic-inequality." But there is a force in market economies, ones with extensive amounts of monopoly, like the United States, which leads income-inequality to understate economic-inequality. This force has not been recognized before and derives from how monopolies behave. Monopolies, of course, raise prices. This reduces the ...
Monopolies Inflict Great Harm on Low- and Middle-Income Americans
Today, monopolies inflict great harm on low- and middle-income Americans. One particularly pernicious way they harm them is by sabotaging low-cost products that are substitutes for the monopoly products. I'll argue that the U.S. housing crisis, legal crisis, and oral health crisis facing the low- and middle-income Americans are, in large part, the result of monopolies destroying low-cost alternatives in these industries that the poor would purchase. These results would not surprise those studying monopolies in the first half of the 20th century. During this period extensive evidence was ...