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ALASKA: Study Links Permanent Fund Dividend with Increased Birth Weight

New research from economists at Hallym University in Chuncheon and Korea University in Seoul found that Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend has helped increase birth weights for Alaska newborns. According to the study, from 1978 to 1984, the dividend cash transfer increased weight by 34.8 grams (1.23 ounces) and reduces the likelihood of low birth weight by 14 percent when comparing to other states during the same period. Some Alaskan economists and pediatricians have raised doubts over the study, however, claiming that the study coincides with a time of big social and economic change in Alaska and thus the improvement must not be attributed solely to the Permanent Fund Dividend. Regardless, this study produces further arguments for the benefits of unconditional cash transfers like a basic income or the Permanent Fund Dividend.

For more background read the following link:

Yereth Rosen, “Does the PFD make babies bigger?”, Alaska Dispatch News, 10 October 2015.

The study itself can be found here:

Wankyo Chung, Hyungserk Ha, and Beomsoo Kim, “Money Transfer and Birth Weight: Evidence from the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend”, Economic Inquiry, 23 June 2015.

About Josh Martin

Josh Martin has written 270 articles.

Josh Martin is a recent graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science where he received an MSc in Social Policy and Planning and wrote his dissertation on the universal basic income as a possible solution to the problems facing Universal Credit in the UK. Prior to LSE, he attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, and is originally from Decorah, Iowa.

The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.

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