Stockton, CA, embarked on a bold experiment two years ago: to distribute $500/month to 125 people for 2 years – with no strings attached. People were randomly chosen from neighborhoods at or below the city’s median household income and were free to spend the money how they chose. Researchers studied the impact the cash had on their lives and the findings were surprising. People who received the cash secured full-time jobs at more than twice the rate of people in a control group, who didn’t receive the cash. The money gave recipients the stability they needed to set goals, take risks and find new jobs. Employment aside, other benefits from unconditional cash programs include: higher levels of happiness, health, school attendance, and trust in social institutions and reductions in crime.

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