Though civic organizations and politicians try to improve voter turnout — via advertising, early voting, vote-by-mail programs, “get out the vote” campaigns and voter registration efforts — some of these programs have been shown to be ineffective and to even exacerbate participation gaps.

So why don’t people vote, and how can we effectively get more people to the polls? In a new paper, my co-authors and I show that children who grow up in households that experience an increase in unearned income are more likely to vote as adults. This unearned income is a result of a governmental cash transfer program.

The paper builds off past research that suggests a strong relationship between parents’ voting behaviors and that of their children. If your parents didn’t vote, you don’t vote. Research also suggests that there is a strong relationship between household incomes (or wealth) and voting in the U.S. Simply put, poverty presents obstacles to voting and the poor vote proportionately less frequently than their richer counterparts.

Read the full article about cash transfers and civic participation by Randall Akee at Brookings.