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A California city gave some residents $500 per month. After a year, their unemployment rate had dropped, while the control group’s rose.

stockton basic income experiment

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It’s a decades-old debate: Does paying someone simply for being alive make it easier for them to find a job or discourage them from seeking work? 

One city got its answer on Wednesday: A new report evaluated a basic-income pilot in Stockton, California, that gave 125 residents $500 monthly stipends for two years. The results showed that unemployment among the recipients dropped during the program’s first year, from 12% in February 2019 to 8% in February 2020.

The experiment’s control group — residents who didn’t receive monthly stipends — saw unemployment rise from 14% to 15% details ⇒

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