Volatility, Agency, and Health: A City-Led Guaranteed Income Experiment

Project Summary: 

The Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) is the country’s first city-led guaranteed income pilot. The research team is evaluating the impacts of the additional income on a variety of outcomes – including, but not limited to, financial security, civic engagement, and health and wellness – while simultaneously anchoring policy proof of concept in the lives and perspectives of Stocktonians. The purpose of this research is to test the effects of a guaranteed income on volatility, inequity drivers, and social determinants of health. The experiment will inform forthcoming guaranteed income demonstrations and provide new knowledge to influence public discourse.

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Health: psychological distress, physical functioning, food security, perceived stress and well-being

Other: income volatility, family dynamics and parenting, material hardship, reduction in use of public benefits, healthcare utilization, and interactions with the child welfare system


Experimental parallel mixed methods design with treatment, active control, and administrative control groups. Quantitative data is collected prior to disbursement and is collected at four six-month intervals for a total of 24 observation months. A purposive qualitative sample of participants are selected to participate in 1:1 semi-structured interviews to determine how decision-making about the monthly disbursements was weighed alongside existing network responsibilities and safety net thresholds. Participatory action research groups will also be held with community members to develop a learning agenda on implementing guaranteed basic income in urban settings.