The ability to obtain a driver’s license has important implications for workers’ economic mobility beyond gaining the right to operate a vehicle and travel independently. A driver’s license can lead to greater employment opportunities and provides a necessary form of identification to open a bank account, cash checks, or board an airplane. Language restrictions that prevent workers from obtaining driver’s licenses could limit their economic opportunity and mobility. And people’s access to translation services varies across jurisdictions, with some states offering only English-to-Spanish translation services.
This project aims to determine whether immigrant workers’ wages and employment are negatively affected by language restrictions that limit their ability to obtain a driver’s license. The project team is particularly focused on immigrants whose native language is neither English nor Spanish given the dearth of language access in these two languages. The team will also assess if language restrictions cause any positive or negative spillover effects on the employment outcomes of Spanish- and English-speaking immigrants.