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In the United States, sky-high incarceration rates disproportionately impact marginalized low-income communities and particularly communities of color. Without a financial security net, people are more exposed to food insecurity, stress, school incompletion and other factors associated with crime. While the current welfare system provides some assistance, its limitations hinder individuals' economic autonomy and fall short of fully addressing the root causes of poverty. In order to understand whether a universal basic income (UBI) would be more effective in reducing crime, this research analyzes the impact of Latin American conditional cash transfer programs, Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend, and the Canadian Mincome experiment on crime rates. It is then considered how the demonstrated link between increased anti-poverty spending and decreased crime might apply to a basic income in the US. Evidence suggests that the cost of a UBI might be offset by resulting decreases in policing, incarceration, and other costs.



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The Link Between Financial Insecurity and Crime: Would a UBI Help?