ALASKA, USA: 2015 Dividend estimated to be near highest ever

Alaska Dispatch News has released its estimate of Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend (PDF) for this year. The Alaska Dividend is the closest policy to a basic income in the world today. It has paid dividends to all Alaska residents since 1982. According to reporter Sean Doogan, the dividend is likely to be about $2,100. If so, the dividend would be technically the largest in the state’s history. The next largest amount ever paid as “the Permanent Fund Dividend” was slightly smaller, $2,069, in 2008. In that year, however, the state added $1,200 to each check as a rebate from the state’s budget surplus, making the total amount each resident received $3,269, considerably higher than any likely amount this year.

The Alaska Dividend amounts 1982-2014

The Alaska Dividend amounts 1982-2014

The amount is large this year because the investment fund on which it is based is doing well. The amount paid each year depends on how many Alaskans apply and on a five-year average of returns to the fund. The fund has been making strong returns in recent years. It has recently reached a total value of $52.8 billion. Although the fund was created out of out revenues and is supplemented by them each year, the value of the fund and dividend is not dependent on current oil revenues, which have been declining sharply from both lower prices and fewer exports.

Sean Doogan, “Our estimate of this year’s PFD check: $2,100.” Alaska Dispatch News, August 22, 2015

Catie Quinn, “Permanent Fund Adds 4.9%.” KSRM Radio Group, August 20, 2015.

APFC, “The Permanent Fund Dividend.” The Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation website.

Credit pciture: CC Teddy Llovet

Karl Widerquist

About Karl Widerquist

Karl Widerquist has written 875 articles.

Karl Widerquist is an Associate Professor at SFS-Qatar, Georgetown University. He specializes in political philosophy. His research is mostly in the area of distributive justice—the ethics of who has what. He holds two doctorates—one in Political Theory form Oxford University (2006) and one in Economics from the City University of New York (1996). Before coming to Georgetown he was lecturer in Political Theory at the University of Reading (UK) and a Murphy Fellow at Tulane University in New Orleans (LA). He has written or edited six books. He is the author of "Independence, propertylessness, and Basic Income: A Theory of Freedom as the Power to Say No" (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). He is coauthor of "Economics for Social Workers" (Columbia University Press 2002). He is coeditor of "Basic Income: An Anthology of Contemporary Research" (Wiley-Blackwell 2013), "Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend: Examining its Suitability as a Model" (Palgrave Macmillan 2012), "Exporting the Alaska Model: Adapting the Permanent Fund Dividend for Reform around the World" (Palgrave Macmillan 2012), and "the Ethics and Economics of the Basic Income Guarantee" (Ashgate 2005). He is currently under contract to author or coauthor two more books: "Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy" (Edinburgh University Press 2014) and Justice as the Pursuit of Accord (Palgrave Macmillan 2015). He was a founding editor of the journal Basic Income Studies. He edited the USBIG NewsFlash for 15 years and the BIEN NewsFlash for five years. He is one of the founding editors of Basic Income News on the website. He has published more than a twenty scholarly articles and book chapters. His articles have appeared in journals such as Political Studies; the Eastern Economic Journal; Politics and Society; and Politics, Philosophy, and Economics.

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