ISER Publication - Universal Cash and Crime

ID: 1741

Brett Watson, look up Mouhcine GuettabiMouhcine Guettabi, look up Matthew ReimerMatthew Reimer


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.

ISER Hosted Files

Article (240.5KiB)