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Abt To Evaluate Guaranteed Income Programs in 8 Cities

Rockville, Md. – Abt Global announced today that it has been awarded two contracts to evaluate the impacts of Guaranteed Income (GI) pilot programs in eight cities across the country. GI is gaining traction as a potential solution to income inequality and the negative effects of poverty. Its distinguishing characteristic is that it provides cash—rather than services or goods—directly to individuals, with no strings attached. The theory, supported by evidence thus far, is that recipients are in the best position to understand what supports are most needed, and thus can make better use of the more flexible benefit.

All eight cities are members of the Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI) an emerging national coalition of more than 60 mayors which provides resources to support GI programs in 29 states. Every GI program has a slightly different design, but all share the same approach: offering monthly stipends to help families meet their expenses. The monthly amounts range from $375 to $1,000, and are provided to different target populations, including youth, single mothers, and others living in poverty. Under a contract with MGI, Abt will research GI programs in seven cities, with a focus on looking at how GI impacts participants’ income volatility, financial wellbeing, and overall stress, as well as other aspects of their daily lives. 

Abt’s evaluation in each city will last approximately 24 months, with results expected to be published in 2024.

“We’re taking a holistic view of how cash might improve people’s lives—from mental health to housing, financial constraints, and family dynamics,” said Abt’s Anna Jefferson, a lead member of the evaluation team. In addition to documenting the scale of change, our work is intended to help policy makers understand what these programs mean for participants’ quality of life.

Under a separate contract, Abt will also be evaluating Alexandria, Virginia’s ARISE (Alexandria's Recurring Income for Success and Equity) program, which provides recipients $500 monthly for two years.

Ultimately, Abt’s findings for both clients will help inform how GI programs are implemented in the future.

 “Our team is looking forward to assessing the evidence around GI’s ability to support those most in need,” said Barbara Fields, vice president of Abt’s Housing practice.

About Abt Global
Abt Global is a global consulting and research firm that combines data and bold thinking to improve the quality of people's lives. We partner with clients and communities to advance equity and innovation—from creating scalable digital solutions and combatting infectious disease, to mitigating climate change and evaluating programs for measurable social impact.

Eric Tischler
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