Back to top
Last updated: 4/5/18

Economic Mobility Lab

Our goal is to advance the upward economic mobility of Bostonians.

The Economic Mobility Lab is in a year-long planning process. We will post occasional updates regarding research findings and next steps throughout the year.

We’ll work with departments across the City. The lab will be located in the Mayor’s Office. We plan to help Bostonians become more economically mobile by:

  • analyzing existing programs and policies
  • highlighting and expanding what works to promote upward economic mobility, and
  • piloting innovative and scalable solutions to promote economic stability for everyone.

Our guiding principles are a commitment to racial equity, gender equity, and research and evaluation. These principles are based on priorities set in the Walsh administration.

Have questions? Contact Jason Ewas at the Mayor's Office:

Plans for the year

What’s next?

We’ll spend the next year focused on researching the barriers to economic mobility facing Boston’s residents. The Lab will:

  • analyze what prevents lower- and moderate-income people from increasing their wealth, and
  • assess what City, state, federal, and private groups do to help people move up the economic ladder.
Understanding the data

We’ll be working with local universities and nonprofits. We plan to analyze demographic and geographic data to better understand the barriers residents face. The Lab will create an inventory of:

  • what City government does to promote economic stability and upward mobility, and
  • how our work interacts with the broader ecosystem of support, including state policies and more.

This combined approach will allow the Lab to gain a better understanding of economic mobility. We’ll design interventions for the City to test and potentially scale up. After a year, the Lab will look for funding that will allow it to design pilots and policies that address gaps.

About the program

Why call it a ‘Lab’?

We will be a research-informed place to test new ideas. Our goal is make the City of Boston an engine of upward economic mobility for everyone. We think this goal is best achieved by piloting solutions informed by in-depth analysis. We want to meet people where they are and design systems that build on people’s tangible and intangible assets.

What does economic mobility mean?

We’re focused on helping people gain economic stability. That means they have a stable place to live, an income that exceeds expenses, and the ability to save for emergencies. Stability provides a foundation for more opportunity. Households can weather shocks and stresses. This includes the sudden shock of a car breaking down, or the stress of child care expenses. We want people to be able to pursue opportunities that may lead to a rise in their income, like higher education or trade certification.

Our focus on economic stability re-enforces the City’s commitment to create equal opportunities for everyone. This idea comes from the City’s Resilient Boston strategy, and the City’s engagement with residents on these issues.