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Economic Mobility Lab

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

We’re a team social entrepreneurs in the Mayor's Office of Policy. We research and test ideas with the potential to economically help low- and moderate-income Bostonians. The Lab launched in late 2017 as a flagship program of the City's Resilience Strategy. We receive support from the Rockefeller Foundation and 100 Resilient Cities.

Our focus

The Lab aims to ensure City government supports residents during the times that matter most. We organize action around key moments in people's lives, including:

Early childhood and child care

The Lab is working on a series of projects on child care with the Mayor's Office of Women's Advancement. We helped develop a survey launched in February related to child care in the City's anonymous census. The optional survey aims to better understand how families manage child care. We hope to gain information on the best ways for the City to support parents and young children. Boston is the first city in the country to document local child care needs through a census.

The Lab is also working on several other programs that will support child care providers and families.

The transition to college and career

One of our goals is to create programs that prepare students and families for income growth. To that end, we’ve partnered with Boston Saves, the City's children's savings account program. We want to help families build their finances and save for education and training.

Preparing for unexpected expenses

The Lab has partnered with the Office of Financial Empowerment. Together, we’re developing tools that help families. This work includes:

  • conducting research for and creating programs with Boston Builds Credit, an initiative that aims to raise credit scores, and
  • developing an incentivized emergency savings account program.

Our Lab is focused on municipal government, but we advocate for key policy changes at all levels of government. Advancing the work of the Lab, Mayor Walsh submitted his legislative agenda to the Mass. Legislature in January 2019. The agenda showed the role government can play in creating economic opportunity.

Our process

Conduct research to identify gaps

The Lab uses a people-centered approach to understanding and acting on economic mobility in Boston. We analyze the latest data and research to understand trends. We also talk to Bostonians about the obstacles they face in trying to move up the economic ladder.

Take action to make progress

We design, test, and scale solutions within City government. The Lab prioritizes projects that:

  • address gaps or leverage opportunities in the City’s economic mobility ecosystem
  • work with residents to help them reach critical benchmarks to economic security, and
  • coordinate action across departments or initiatives.
Review effectiveness

We take advantage of university partnerships and the City’s Analytics Team to track the long-term impact of our work.

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