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Effects of Universal and Unconditional Cash Transfers on Child Abuse and Neglect

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Thursday, February 08, 2024
12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
Lindsey Bullinger - Georgia Tech University
DUPRI Seminar Series

We estimate the effects of cash transfers on a severe measure of child welfare: maltreatment. To do so, we leverage year-to-year household variation from a universal and unconditional cash transfer, the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD). Using linked individual-level administrative data on PFD payments and child maltreatment referrals, we show that an additional $1,000 to families in the first few months of a child's life reduces the likelihood that a child is referred to Child Protective Services by age three by 2.0 percentage points, or 10 percent, on average. Effects persist through early childhood and are unlikely to be driven by birth seasonality or reporting.