George Pierson’s M-Factor in American History

The famous Yale historian proposed it a half-century ago: movement, migration and mobility. He saw it as key to the American character. Now we see all the atrophying of all three during this Great Recession.

Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan, here’s a paper from The Hamilton Project that proposes a “mobility bank” to assist Americans in moving–as they once did routinely to find better opportunities.

Money quote:

Whereas those with college degrees and savings are much more likely to move in response to job loss and to improve their job market outcomes, those with less skills and no savings may have difficulty financing such transitions. The government should target mobility bank loans toward displaced, unemployed, and underemployed people in depressed areas of the country and should help to insure people against job-outcome uncertainty by making repayment terms contingent on the borrower’s post-move employment and income.