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College of Health & Human Services California State University, Sacramento

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Guaranteed Income Research


Guaranteed income programs (GI) began to receive increased public attention during the 2020 presidential campaign through Andrew Yang’s proposal that every American receive a monthly $1,000 Freedom Dividend. Closer to home in Stockton, then-Mayor Michael Tubbs launched a modest pilot in 2019 that began dispersing $500 monthly payments to 125 low-income neighborhood residents for two years.

Since then, numerous guaranteed income projects have gotten underway across California, including several in the Sacramento region. In fact, California is the first state to pilot its own guaranteed income programs; the Department of Social Services is administering $25 million to pilot seven programs across the state beginning in 2023. These pilot efforts are being closely followed with researchers assessing how unrestricted monthly cash payments can impact outcomes both at the individual and household levels. Ultimately, this research may shed insight into whether funding such programs will ultimately add to, reform, or supplant current welfare programs.

Affiliated Researchers

Dr. Ethan J. Evans

Dr. Kisun Nam

Dr. Arturo Baiocchi

Dr. Kyle Caler

Research Partnerships & Projects

Collaboration between Sac State and United Way California Capital Region (UWCCR) began in Fall semester 2021 when the non-profit reached out to the Division of Social Work for assistance designing an evaluation of their regional guaranteed income initiative. United Way received funding from the City of Sacramento to start a new Guaranteed Income Program that will provide 80 recipients with monthly, no-strings attached payments of $500 for 12 months.

Evaluation with United Way (Spring 2023 – Fall 2025)

Applications were collected from residents of Sacramento from March 15 – April 14, 2023. Nearly 13,000 people applied and completed a survey developed by Sacramento State University faculty and CHPPR affiliates, Dr. Ethan J. Evans, Dr. Kisun Nam, Dr. Arturo Baiocchi, and Dr. Kyle Caler. The team will launch two follow-up surveys to selected GIP participants and a randomly selected control group of non-participant applicants. The first will be sent the week before the last GIP payment and the final survey will be sent 6 months after the last payment was distributed.

The purpose of the pilot evaluation will be to advance learnings about the impact of guaranteed income programs on individual and family self-sufficiency and wellness outcomes; specifically, 5 domains will be assessed – security, agency, social engagement, health and well-being, and experience with/interpretation of GI.

Anchor University Collaborative Research Fellowship (Spring & Fall 2023)

The Institute for Social Research (ISR) at Sacramento State awarded Dr. Ethan Evans in partnership with United Way California Capital Region the Anchor University Collaborative Research Fellowship for their proposal, Perceptions and Values Related to Guaranteed Income Program. The fellowship included fielding approximately 15 of their unique questions with the Sacramento Regional Panel Survey and receiving demographic data from the panelists who responded to their survey. The team anticipates that the results will be applied toward better addressing housing instability, helping children excel in school, reducing food insecurity, and further developing programs to foster inclusive economic and educational opportunities.

In the News

Sacramento residents could get $500 a month under basic income program. Here’s how to apply (March 15, 2023).