Universal Cash and Crime
Mouhcine Guettabi and
Matthew Reimer ()
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Brett Watson: University of Alaska Anchorage
Mouhcine Guettabi: University of Alaska Anchorage
The Review of Economics and Statistics, 2020, vol. 102, issue 4, 678-689
We estimate the effects of universal cash transfers on crime from Alaska's Permanent Fund Dividend, an annual lump-sum payment to all Alaska residents. We find a 14% increase in substance-abuse incidents the day after the payment and a 10% increase over the following four weeks. This is partially offset by an 8% decrease in property crime, with no changes in violent crimes. On an annual basis, however, changes in criminal activity from the payment are small. Estimated costs comprise a very small portion of the total payment, suggesting that crime-related concerns of a universal cash transfer program may be unwarranted.
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