The Employment Effects of Generous and Unconditional Cash Support

Working Paper 2023-638


While unconditional cash transfers have been studied extensively in developingcountries, little is known about their effects in a wealthier context. Through arandomized controlled trial, we study the employment effects of a generous andunconditional transfer targeting low-income families in Spain. Two years into theprogram, subjects assigned to treatment are 20 percent less likely to work thansubjects assigned to a control group. Assignment to an activation plan does notattenuate adverse effects; a more lenient transfer withdrawal rate does. It appearsthat effects are driven by subjects with children, suggesting substitution of labourfor care tasks.

Authors: Xavier Ramos, Timo Verlaat, Federico Todeschini.

Keywords: welfare reform, cash transfer, basic income, policy evaluation, RCT
JEL: C93, H53, I38, J64