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Matt Marx of Boston University and Ryan Nunn of the Hamilton Project describe the conditions under which non-competes are used and explain how current practices limit entrepreneurship, information flow, and worker mobility
One simple question—are wages rising?—is as central to the health of our democracy as it is to the health of our economy. This book presents evidence and analysis that detail why wages have been stagnant for so many workers, while also identifying public policies that could effectively contribute to the growth in productivity and wages that are core parts of improving living standards for all Americans. These proposals include greater support for policies that increase human capital, boost worker mobility, strengthen worker bargaining power, and sustain robust labor demand.
Firms use non-competes widely in order to minimize recruiting costs, safeguard investments, and protect intellectual property more easily than is achieved via non-disclosure agreements. But these benefits come at a cost to workers, whose career flexibility is compromised—often without their informed consent. In this paper, Matt Marx describes evidence from empirical research on non-compete agreements and recommends policies to balance the interests of firms and workers.