GiveDirectly to Administer Cash Grants Pilot in Chicago

Long time readers will know that both Tyler and I have been promoting GiveDirectly since its creation in 2011. GiveDirectly was started by four economists and it gives money directly to the very poor in Kenya and Uganda. Unusually for any charity, GiveDirectly has published substantial, high quality, pre-registered RCTs on its work and is a top-rated charity by GiveWell. GiveDirectly, the charity, continues to do great work helping the world’s poorest people but they are now also using their experience to help design and administer programs in the United States.

A nonprofit that originally focused on giving cash to impoverished people in Africa will soon be delivering money to poor residents of Chicago, in one of the largest tests of a guaranteed basic income program in the US.

GiveDirectly is administering a program that will give $500 a month to each of 5,000 households in Chicago as soon as the end of June. The city is using $31.5 million from the federal government’s American Rescue Plan Act for the year-long pilot, and hoping the payments will help it recover faster from the pandemic.

I look forward to seeing the results.


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