ISER Publication - Universal Cash and Crime
Article Or Book, 46pp.
Forthcoming in the Review of Economics and Statistics
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 a 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.