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

About Karl Widerquist

Karl Widerquist has written 983 articles.

Karl Widerquist is a Professor of political philosophy at Georgetown University-Qatar. He specializes in distributive justice—the ethics of who has what. Much of his work involves Universal Basic Income (UBI). He is a co-founder of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network (USBIG). He served as co-chair of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) for 7 years, and a member of the BIEN EC for 14 years. He was the Editor of the USBIG NewsFlash for 15 years and of the BIEN NewsFlash for 4 years. He is a cofounder of BIEN’s news website, Basic Income News. He is a cofounder of the journal "Basic Income Studies." Widerquist has published several books and many articles on UBI both in academic journals and in the popular media. He has appeared on or been quoted by many major media outlets, such as NPR’s On Point, NPR’s Marketplace, PRI’s the World, CNBC, Al-Jazeera, 538, Vice, Dissent, the New York Times, Forbes, the Financial Times, and the Atlantic Monthly, which called him “a leader of the worldwide basic income movement.” Most of Karl Widerquist's academic writing is available at his research website (Widerquist.com). For more information about him, see his BIEN profile (https://basicincome.org/news/2016/12/bien-profiles-karl-widerquist-co-chair/).