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Seminar: The effect of universal and unconditional cash transfers on child abuse and neglect

Tinbergen Institute

We estimate the effects of cash transfers on child well-being. To do so, we leverage program eligibility due to date of birth cutoffs and year-to-year variation in payment size 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 find that an additional $1,000 to families reduces the likelihood that a child is referred to Children’s Services by age 3 by 2.0 percentage points, or about 10 percent, on average. Effects are driven by declines in neglect and physical abuse. Additionally, we show that larger cash transfers increase the probability that children live with their mothers and lower mortality by age 5.


  • Analisa Packham (VanderBilt University)


Gustav Mahlerplein 117,
1082 MS Amsterdam