Alaska Cash Transfer Program Has No Effect on Employment, Study Claims

February 23, 2018

Universal basic income proponents are touting a new study that finds the Alaskan Permanent Fund, which provided Alaska residents with a cash dividend of $1,100 in 2017, has not reduced Alaskan employment levels, though the amount offered is considerably less than commonly imagined in a universal basic income scenario.  The authors of the study note: “In a world where trade, technology, and secular stagnation threaten people’s incomes, there is growing interest in a universal basic income to promote income security.”  According to the study, any employment reductions were offset by the economic stimulation caused by Alaska residents spending the extra cash.  Further, the study found the program increased part-time work by 17 percent.  University of Chicago Economist Damon Jones, who co-authored the report, noted that the increase could be attributed to people who would otherwise work full time cutting down their hours due to the cash infusion.  While universal basic income supporters are heartened by the study, most proposals would offer far more, commonly around $1,000 per month, as opposed to the Alaskan Permanent Fund's $1,100 per year.