ISER Publication - Universal Cash Transfers and Labor Market Outcomes

ID: 1774

look up Andrew BiblerAndrew Bibler, look up Mouhcine GuettabiMouhcine Guettabi, look up Matthew ReimerMatthew Reimer


Report, 51pp.

One major criticism of universal basic income is that unconditional cash transfers discourage recipients from working. We estimate the causal effects of a universal cash transfer on short-run labor market activity by exploiting the timing and variation of a long-running unconditional and universal transfer: Alaska's Permanent Fund Dividend. We find evidence of both a positive labor demand and negative labor supply response to the transfers, document important heterogeneity across workers, and provide a set of placebo tests supporting our main results. Altogether, a $1,000 increase in the per-person disbursement leads to a 0.2% labor market contraction on an annual basis.

Suggested Citation:

Bibler, Andrew and Guettabi, Mouhcine and Reimer, Matthew N, Universal Cash Transfers and Labor Market Outcomes (March 21, 2019). Available at SSRN: or