What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
• Dylan Matthews discusses the success of Alaska's universal basic income in increasing the fertility rate, which is low in the rest of the country.
• Can other states learn from Alaska's strategy?
• Read more about fertility in the United States.
America has one of the few places on Earth where a universal basic income has actually been implemented: Alaska.
Since 1982, the Alaska Permanent Fund, a state-owned investment fund established using oil revenues, has paid out an annual dividend to every man, woman, and child living in Alaska, no strings attached. The value of the dividend fluctuates based on the price of oil and other budgetary considerations. In 2019, the dividend was $1,606 per person, or $6,424 for a family of four.
For researchers interested in human fertility, this raises an obvious question: Does a basic income going to every adult and child encourage families to have more kids?
A new NBER working paper, from CUNY’s Nishant Yonzan and Laxman Timilsina and Loyola Marymount’s Inas Rashad Kelly, suggests the answer is yes. They find that in the years after the dividend’s 1982 introduction, fertility in Alaska sharply increased relative to its previous trends. Their overall estimate is that the dividend increased fertility by over 13 percent.
That is a quite large effect — and in a country like the US where fertility hovers below “replacement” level, it could mean the difference between a population whose native-born population is growing or shrinking. And this finding could also bolster support for basic income and similar policies among social conservatives who worry deeply about falling fertility.
Read the full article about Alaska's universal basic income by Dylan Matthews at Vox.