Basic income payments increased full-time employment in California study

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An effort by a California city to provide basic income payments to some 125 residents ended last month, with officials recording rising levels of full-time employment among the study’s participants after one year.

A study from two researchers with the University of Tennessee and University of Pennsylvania analyzed a program undertaken by city officials in Stockton, championing the initiative that provided $500 per month in direct income assistance to city households.

Researchers Stacia Martin-West and Amy Castro Baker told The Atlantic that an analysis found that between February 2019 and February 2020, the share of participants in the study with full-time employment rose by 12 percent.

Unemployment in general dropped among the participants, the authors added, while rising among the study’s control group of nonparticipating Stockton residents.

Families that took part also saw their income fluctuate on average much less than those who did not, and researchers found that less than 1 percent of the budgeted money was spent on recreational drugs, including alcohol and cigarettes.

“It’s really made a huge impact on my quality of life and being able to go do just normal things that a lot of people take for granted,” one participant told Business Insider, “whether it’s go out to eat once every two weeks and sit down for a nice dinner, or whether it’s, you know, my mom’s birthday and I just want to get her a birthday present.”

Stockton’s mayor added that another success of the program occurred after the researchers ceased collecting data; once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Mayor Michael Tubbs (D) says that some participants were able to stay home and follow COVID-19 guidelines without fear of missing income.

“We know anecdotally that the $500 allowed some members of the program to stay at home and not go to work because they don’t have paid time off,” Tubbs told Business Insider. “They were able to listen to the doctor because they knew that the two weeks off work wouldn’t be catastrophic.”

Tags Basic income California jobless rate Michael Tubbs Stockton Unemployment Universal Basic Income
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