Low- and middle-income parents receiving universal payments increase spending on children

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When given cash with no strings attached, low- and middle-income parents increased their spending on their children, according to Washington State University research. The study, published in the journal Social Forces, also found that the additional funding had little impact on child-related expenditures of high-income parents.

For the study, WSU sociologist Mariana Amorim analyzed spending by recipients of the Alaska Permanent Fund payments. Funded by state oil revenues, the fund is the closest program in the United States to a universal basic income. Every resident in Alaska receives a payment called a dividend; the total amount varies each year, but during the time span of this study, 1996-2015, payments averaged around $1,812 a person, or $7,248 for a four-person family, when adjusted for inflation to 2014 dollars.

Amorim found that after the lump sum payments, low- and middle-income parents made more education, clothing, recreation and electronic purchases for their children.

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