/ EFFECTIVE ALTRUISM

# Mortality, existential risk, and universal basic income

Below is a chapter I wrote for the book Death And Anti-Death, Volume 18: Fifty Years After Earth Day, published in December 2020. In the chapter, I argue that poverty alleviation would reduce both mortality and existential risk, and that, among anti-poverty programs, universal basic income has a number of advantages over targeted and in-kind benefits. I’m posting it on Giving Tuesday both to highlight the work of GiveDirectly, which provides cash transfers to extremely poor people and conducts research on those payments that I cite extensively, and to invite readers to consider tax and benefit policy research as a cause area for effective giving–research like we and our sister nonprofit, PolicyEngine, conduct.

Beyond the information in this chapter, trends from the past year suggest greater potential for tax and benefit policy as a cause area. GiveWell has said that “Cash transfers have the strongest track record we’ve seen for a non-health intervention,” yet governments continue to restrict uses of benefit dollars. The US Bipartisan Infrastructure Package, for example, created a $14 billion broadband subsidy, and the Build Back Better Act would spend$500 billion on childcare subsidies (twice as much as on the Child Tax Credit). Both of these programs create welfare cliffs, in which higher earnings can leave people worse off due to lost benefits. Developing countries enact policies that are similarly flawed, if not worse.

Last week, GiveWell revealed that they’re unlikely to find opportunities more than five to eight times more cost-effective than cash transfers. In their response, GiveDirectly claimed that cash transfers are more effective than GiveWell estimates, suggesting that GiveWell will have difficulty finding opportunities even at the 5-8x-cash range. And in their previous blog post, GiveDirectly said that, despite having sent cash transfers to a million households, they’ve reached under one percent of extremely poor households in Kenya, the country where they have the largest presence.

GiveDirectly continues to be exceptionally worthy, but governments too have a role to play. The scale of reforming tax and benefit policy is enormous: OECD countries collect a third of GDP in taxes, and redistribute a third of that as cash benefits–and those shares are growing as economies get richer. We believe we’re targeting neglected angles on the broad cause area (technology and considering taxes and benefits together), and our early traction with policymakers in the UK suggests that these novel angles can make reform tractable as well.

With that, here is Mortality, existential risk, and universal basic income:

## Introduction

Toby Ord didn’t start his career thinking about the far future. When the Oxford philosopher created the organization Giving What We Can (GWWC) in 2009, it focused on finding the most cost-effective charities for saving or improving lives today, like malaria bed nets, and encouraging members to pledge 10 percent of their income to those charities. This marked the beginning of the movement known as effective altruism (EA), which describes itself as “about using evidence and reason to figure out how to benefit others as much as possible, and taking action on that basis.”

Thirty-seven years before Ord created the EA movement, Princeton philosopher Peter Singer formed the ideas that now underpin it. In his 1972 essay, Famine, Affluence, and Morality, Singer offered the following thought experiment:

…if I am walking past a shallow pond and see a child drowning in it, I ought to wade in and pull the child out. This will mean getting my clothes muddy, but this is insignificant, while the death of the child would presumably be a bad thing…It makes no moral difference whether the person I can help is a neighbor’s child ten yards from me or a Bengali whose name I shall never know, ten thousand miles away.

Singer taught, as EA now does, to look beyond one’s immediate circle to humanity as a whole when weighing how to do good. If saving a drowning child in front of you is worth some sacrifice, it must be worth the same sacrifice to save an out-of-view child from perishing, as well.

But what if the metaphorical drowning child, rather than being 10,000 miles away, is 10,000 years in the future? This is the question Ord explores in his 2020 book, The Precipice. The risks he considers are not children dying from preventable disease, but of children never being born at all—not hundreds or thousands of children, but billions or trillions of them throughout humanity’s vast potential future. Whether our species can end suffering, explore other worlds, and experience the unimaginable, all depends on whether we can survive to continue our story.

Ord argues that we may be living through the most important time in history, when our technological power is growing so rapidly that we could make humanity’s final mistake. Climate change, nuclear war, pandemics, or unaligned artificial intelligence could all spell the end of humanity if we’re not careful. The extremely high stakes of safeguarding humanity’s future potential makes it worth fighting for, even if the probability of catastrophe is low—and in estimating its odds at 1 in 6, Ord doesn’t believe it to be so low. He brought his optimism from addressing global poverty, identifying specific ways that individuals can help, not just by donating to effective organizations working to minimize existential risks, but also by directing their own careers to make the biggest difference.

While EA has grown over the past decade, so too has a much older idea: universal basic income, or UBI. UBI is an unconditional cash payment given to every member of society on a regular basis, typically monthly, sufficient to meet basic needs. No government has yet implemented it, though many have enacted programs that check some of the boxes.1 A number of cities have also pursued philanthropically-funded UBI pilots and experiments.2

In this chapter, I will connect UBI to the theme of this book series, through the lens of effective altruism. In short, I will review how reducing poverty could save lives in the short and (very) long run, and how UBI policies could effectively achieve that egalitarianism.

## Poverty and mortality

The strong correlation between income, poverty, and mortality has long been known, across geographies and over time.3 In 2016, a 1 percent increase in per-capita income across countries was associated with an extra 0.06 years of life expectancy, a reduction in infant mortality of 0.16 percentage points (pp), and a reduction in child mortality of 0.23pp. The extreme poverty rate, defined as $1.90 per day of consumption in 2011 dollars, is also associated with these measures of mortality, even when controlling for per-capita income. A 1pp decrease in the extreme poverty rate is associated with an extra 0.30 years of life expectancy, a reduction in infant mortality of 0.75pp, and a reduction in child mortality of 1.03pp.4 Empirical economics research, which applies tools such as randomized controlled trials and identification of “natural experiments” to establish causal relationships, indicates that this is more than correlation: poverty conclusively shortens lives. Evidence comes largely from cash transfer programs, studies of which compare recipients to similar people who, due to chance or circumstance, happened not to receive the transfers. Cash transfers fall into two categories: conditional cash transfers (CCTs), in which eligible households must take some action like schooling or vaccinating children to receive the transfers, and unconditional cash transfers (UCTs), which carry no requirements. UBI is essentially a regular, universal UCT set at an amount that covers basic needs. The simplest form of evidence is randomized controlled trials (RCTs), in which individuals are randomly assigned to a treatment or control group, as in medical trials. An RCT in Rwanda, for example, found that a one-time$500 UCT to households that contain poor or underweight children, or pregnant or lactating women, reduced child mortality by 70 percent compared to a control group.5 However, the small sample size—two children died in the treatment group, compared to 13 children in the larger control group—justifies considering other evidence as well.

When cash transfers aren’t randomly assigned, they can often be evaluated when governments deploy them semi-randomly, as Mexico did when it staggered the rollout of its Progresa CCT across geographies. Compared to households who would have received Progresa transfers if they’d been in early-rollout areas, treated rural households experienced 17 percent less infant mortality, though neonatal mortality did not significantly change.6 Brazil’s similar CCT, Bolsa Familia, reduced child mortality by between 6 and 17 percent.7

In 1911, the US government established its first welfare program, the Mother’s Pension Program, which provided cash transfers representing 12 to 25 percent of family income, generally for about 3 years. Male children of mothers accepted for the US Mother’s Pension Program lived one year longer than male children of mothers who were rejected after initial acceptance (Aizer et al., 2016). This study also reported other medium-term outcomes, which can help estimate the effects of other cash transfer results for which mortality data is not yet reliably available. The program “resulted in a significant 50 percent decrease in under-nutrition, a 13 percent increase in income, and an increase of 0.4 years of school among young adults.” By comparing these results to other research on mortality and being underweight (Flegal et al., 2005), income (Deaton & Paxson, 2001), and education (Cutler & Lleras-Muney, 2006), the authors establish that education and income explain 75 to 95 percent of the longevity increase, while the underweight channel explains a small share.

Cash transfer experiments have established robust causal relationships between poverty and intermediate outcomes identified in the Mothers Pension Program study. A $1,000 UCT to extremely poor households in Kenya raised subsequent earnings by$270.8 UCTs in Malawi and Zambia raise school enrollment by between 4 and 19 percentage points.9 A UCT in Rwanda also raised height-for-age and weight-for-age, indicators of healthy child development.10

With time, researchers will be able to follow up with treatment and control groups from these experiments to determine long-run mortality effects. This will add precision to the existing finding that poverty shortens lives, via channels including income, education, and nutrition.

## Poverty and existential risk

Poverty is not itself an existential risk, nor is it directly related to any likely candidates. However, poverty destabilizes society through short-termism, isolationism, and other problems, and that instability raises the risks of extinction.

Through a combination of evidence and expert opinion, Ord estimated the probabilities of each type of existential catastrophe, as shown in the table below.11 He acknowledges that these probabilities are somewhat speculative, saying, “Their purpose is to show the right order of magnitude, rather than a more precise probability.” Nevertheless, it provides a guide for prioritizing the risks, identifying patterns across them, and especially, for determining the most effective ways to reduce them.

Existential catastrophe via Chance within the next 100 years
Asteroid or comet impact ~1 in 1,000,000
Supervolcanic eruption ~1 in 10,000
Stellar explosion ~1 in 1,000,000,000
Total natural risk ~1 in 10,000
Nuclear war ~1 in 1,000
Climate change ~1 in 1,000
Other environmental damage ~1 in 1,000
‘Naturally’ arising pandemics ~1 in 10,000
Engineered pandemics ~1 in 30
Unaligned artificial intelligence ~1 in 10
Unforeseen anthropogenic risks ~1 in 30
Other anthropogenic risks ~1 in 50
Total anthropogenic risk ~1 in 6
Total existential risk ~1 in 6

The first thing to note is that natural risks represent less than a thousandth of the total existential risk. This is in some ways encouraging, since there’s little to be done about them, except perhaps becoming a multiplanetary species more quickly.

The second is that risk probabilities vary by orders of magnitude. Nuclear war and climate change are major threats, but each is less than a hundredth as likely as unaligned artificial intelligence (which I’ll describe later). This isn’t to say nuclear war and climate change couldn’t kill millions, even billions of people; they’re just unlikely to kill everyone on Earth.12

The third, and most relevant to this analysis, is that the risks share common threads. Avoiding nuclear war and engineered pandemics will require international safeguards of hazardous material. Avoiding unaligned artificial intelligence will require a more patient approach to developing this transformational technology. Avoiding disasters from climate change—and to a large degree, all these risks—will require both international cooperation and emphasis on sustainability.

As a growing share of the world’s population—now over half—lives under democracy,13 the extent to which individual citizens support cooperation and sustainability will affect country-level outcomes.

The available evidence suggests that lifting people out of poverty increases their future orientation and trust in the institutions, thereby increasing support for future-oriented, globally-cooperative public policy. Poverty reduction may also address specific risks, and I discuss its links to three of the top ones: climate change, pandemics, and unaligned AI.

### Patience

Investing in existential risk avoidance requires giving up short-term gains to secure long-term stability; indeed, those now espousing such investments often describe themselves as longtermists.

Researchers characterize the patience of individuals and societies with a range of outcomes. In the economic sense, the rate of time preference or discount factor describe impatience, quantifying the amount of money one would have to receive tomorrow in exchange for giving up a dollar today. Psychologists measure delayed gratification with experiments like the famous marshmallow test.14 Other researchers elicit impulsivity through survey questions like, “I don’t spend enough time thinking over a situation before I act.”15 For simplicity, I refer to outcomes from various studies as patience, capturing different angles of this general concept.

Across countries, income correlates with patience.16 Cash transfers have helped measure patience, since the share of the new income spent vs. saved offers clear exogenous variation. Such designs show that households in rural Mexico and Guatemala are much less (economically) patient than households in the US17

Economic panel data also shows that income and patience correlate within the US.18 This could be reverse causality, as more patient people could take the time to build careers that would generate higher lifetime income, but sociological and psychological research suggests that patience is largely cemented in childhood through cultural and socioeconomic circumstances. For example, residents of poorer neighborhoods have higher impulsivity,19 and income and maternal education at birth negatively correlate with impulsivity among 15-year-olds.20

The question is: is it causal? Recent evidence on “hand to mouth” households—those who consume their entire income—offers conflicting accounts. The hand-to-mouth share generally exceeds the share that standard time preference models would predict. A 2020 paper on US households attributes this to heterogeneous preferences, rather than impatience.21 However, another 2020 paper from Bangladesh finds that large randomized asset transfers enable poor households to break out of consistent hand-to-mouth poverty;22 this would only occur if the wealth shock made them more patient, as some theories predict.23 As with many traits, patience results from more than economic conditions, but poverty reduction would likely have some positive effect on patience.

### Trust and global cooperation

Existential risks know no borders. Averting catastrophic climate change will require the US to rejoin the Paris Accords as a vital bare minimum, and other international partnerships will be necessary to hold countries accountable to shared goals. Similarly, international organizations can ensure countries adhere to bioengineering and nuclear engineering safety standards, and can deter great power wars that could make existential risks like pandemic and nuclear war more likely.

Few studies examine sentiment toward international cooperation directly, but income consistently predicts three potential proxies: views on immigration, views on trade, and social trust.

In Australia, income correlates negatively with isolationism and vote share for the anti-immigrant party, controlling for other demographics and attitudes.24 Correlational and experimental evidence from Switzerland finds a “v curve” where anti-immigrant sentiment is highest in low- and high-income groups; it also finds high anti-immigrant sentiment in low-wealth groups (with no v curve).25

A UK survey experiment compared support for a child benefit program when respondents were either primed or not primed to consider that it benefits immigrants. While immigration priming reduced support among all groups, the effect was about three times larger for people without a high school degree than for university degree holders.26

Similar patterns are observed from trade: high income Americans are about 10 percentage points more likely than low-income Americans to say that trade has a “mostly positive” effect on a variety of outcomes.27

Education may be a channel through which income affects international views; for example, a dynamic model of education choice shows that it raises trust (as well as voter participation).28 The US survey also found a 10-point delta in trade sentiment by college completion.

More research is needed to understand these ties; for example, support for the United Nations is not significantly related to support for populist parties in Europe, though US Democrats are more than twice as likely to support the UN than Republicans.29 Overall, though, the available evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that reducing poverty would engender support for the international cooperation needed to fight existential risks.

### Climate change

Whether income increases carbon emissions is controversial and uncertain. From a purely correlational perspective, people in richer countries emit more carbon. In 2016 across countries, a 1 percent increase in per-capita income and a 1pp decrease in extreme poverty were associated with increases in per-capita carbon emissions of 1.3 and 1.0 percent, respectively.30

The causal story at the individual level is more encouraging. CCTs in Indonesia reduced tree cover losses by 30 percent, as recipients relied less on deforestation in times of need, and consumed more market-purchased goods rather than deforestation-sourced goods.31 And a UCT in Pakistan shifted its ultra-poor recipients from traditional fuels like wood and dung to more modern fuels that are better for the environment.32

Thanks to advances in clean energy technology, global per-capita emissions have fallen since 2012, and they’ve fallen faster in more advanced countries like the US and France, which is now about equal to the global average.33 It’s plausible then that poor countries would develop in less carbon-intensive ways than rich countries have, bypassing high-carbon technologies no longer needed, and even innovating more themselves.

Regardless, the ethics of slowing global poverty reduction in order to slow climate change are dubious, especially given the infeasibility of such an undertaking and its uncertain impact. What’s needed is public policy to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels. Experts agree that one policy in particular is essential for averting catastrophic global warming: carbon pricing.

Unlike targeted policies like electric vehicle subsidies, carbon pricing reduces emissions throughout the economy. The state assesses fees on carbon emissions at the source—the oil well, coal mine, gas site, or border for imported goods—and the internalized cost of carbon emissions then flows through manufacturers, services, and consumers, each of whom chooses lower-carbon options, with encouragement from the price signal.

In its 2018 special report on global warming,34 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made carbon pricing a core benchmark for countries’ progress on climate goals. Simulations from MIT and Climate Interactive show that carbon pricing reduces temperature changes more than any other individual policy; it has a positive marginal effect even at low rates and with or without other policies; and without it, staying under 1.5℃ will be nearly impossible.35

The environmental benefits of a carbon pricing policy would extend beyond the borders of the country that implements it. Domestic manufacturers could export the clean, innovative products promoted by the carbon pricing. And because carbon pricing bills typically come with a “border adjustment,” which equivalizes trading partners by adding a fee to carbon-intensive imports from countries without their own carbon prices, other countries would be incentivized to add their own carbon pricing to make exports competitive.

The question is: how should the revenue be used? The answer, according to over 3,500 US economists, is equal dividends. These “carbon dividends” would offset the higher costs of goods and services with carbon-based inputs.36 Signatories to the letter, the largest statement in the history of the economics profession, include 45 Nobel Prize winning economists, as well as former Treasury secretaries and chairs of the Federal Reserve and Council of Economic Advisors, from both political parties.

Several studies of carbon dividends find that it would be progressive on a net basis and benefit most people.37 This result follows from carbon consumption increasing with income.

65 percent of Americans support carbon dividends,38 following from another popular proposal for universal dividends: the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend, a small UBI funded by the state’s oil wealth. 90 percent of Alaskans favor the dividend going to everyone, and 64 percent say they would rather raise state income taxes than end the program.39 A clean, habitable environment is a type of shared natural resource, and carbon dividends essentially require that people who consume more of it compensate the rest of society.

Poverty reduction may or may not reduce emissions to avert climate change directly, but poverty reduction policies like cash transfers can make carbon pricing more attractive, raising the odds of enacting effective climate policy.

### Pandemics

Ord published The Precipice on March 3, 2020. By the end of that month, the Covid-19 pandemic had shut down much of the planet. Despite being unaware of the virus when writing the book, Ord warned of the risk of natural and engineered pandemics as the second most likely cause of existential catastrophe in the coming century. The combination of historical precedent (the Black Death is estimated to have killed between 30 and 60 percent of Europeans) and rapid investment in synthetic biology indicated that this area deserves caution.

As I write this on September 28, 2020, Covid-19 has just taken its millionth life worldwide.40 Excess mortality estimates suggest official statistics may significantly undercount the virus’s true impact,41 and forecasters expect its death toll to reach 3 million by March 2021.42 It has been one of the worst disasters in human history.

And yet, to wipe out humanity, a future pandemic would have to be orders of magnitude more deadly than Covid-19. It would have to kill over 2,000 times as many people, swinging its scythe at children and younger adults, who have been less vulnerable thus far. It would also have to reach isolated populations, not only to islands like those of Hawaii, whose death rate is projected to be 80 percent lower than that of the US,43 but also to uncontacted tribes and people in other remote locations.

The tools needed to contain such a calamitous pandemic will therefore differ from those deployed for Covid-19. Nevertheless, our current episode may help identify solutions to prepare for worse ones to come.

## Conclusion

UBI is unlikely to be the most effective tool for addressing any individual problem. To avert near-term deaths, dollars are best spent on health interventions in developing countries.76 To avert existential catastrophe, dollars may best be spent researching specific threats, such as AI safety or pandemics. To reduce inequality without raising tax revenue, dollars are best spent targeting the poor.

What UBI lacks in targeted depth, it makes up for in breadth. This explains its effectiveness as an anti-poverty tool, ensuring that people don’t slip through the cracks of a fragmented welfare system consisting of separate programs for each shard of the poor. Just as it ensures coverage of all the needy, it too ensures coverage of all their needs, from food to housing to all the heterogeneous preferences the market satisfies for most members of society. When those preferences are satisfied, people gain the ability to live longer, healthier lives, and to look beyond their particular place and time.

While effective altruists could do better than funding UBI programs in rich countries, governments have much to gain from considering the policy. Nominally cheaper means-tested systems hide their true cost: a surveillance apparatus that costs governments billions, steals the time, freedom, and privacy of its participants, and inevitably fails to reach those most in need. Their extreme marginal tax rates discourage poor people from working, in turn cementing perceptions of the poor as lazy.

If means-test-reliant governments choose to break this cycle, the path has already been laid: European social democracies have reduced inequality through generous, widely available transfers, funded by the types of high-rate, broad-based, relatively flat taxes that raise substantial revenue. Countries with such systems in place still have residents who fall through the cracks, or who face perverse incentives, or are subjected to onerous bureaucracy to meet basic needs. Their already-expansive taxation systems provide them the resources to more easily move to universal programs like UBI.

The evidence base linking poverty to mortality and existential risk factors is substantial and growing, but more research and quantification is needed. A rigorous review would also consider the costs of redistributional policy: How much does taxation increase mortality? Does it lower trust and patience by putting some into worse economic conditions? Will longtermism suffer from donors having less resources at their disposal? How do these effects vary with the UBI parameters and funding structure? Many effects in economics exhibit diminishing returns, suggesting that shifting resources to the poor will improve the relevant outcomes on a net basis, but this is uncertain and the stakes demand epistemic humility.

UBI advocate Conrad Shaw has said, “we may almost resemble a new species when our basest daily fears are unshouldered.”77 People are right to be fearful when their poverty puts their life at risk, or the life of their child. Providing economic security for all won’t only avoid deaths of individual humans, it might just help us avert the death of humanity.

1. For example, Alaska provides an annual dividend of between $1,000 and$3,000 per person, funded by its oil wealth. A number of countries have universal child allowances or flat old-age pensions.

2. For example, the Economic Security Project and others are funding an experiment in Stockton, California, and OpenResearch (formerly Y-Combinator Research) is running an experiment across two US states

3. My calculations based on World Bank data on 183 countries for income, or 76 countries for poverty, weighted by country population. Regressions including both log income and the extreme poverty rate show similar t-statistics between the two predictors across outcomes, both around 6 in absolute value and coefficients falling by roughly half compared to 1-predictor regressions; poverty and life expectancy is an exception at around -2.8, suggesting that extreme poverty has a stronger effect on infant and child mortality than on life expectancy. Infant and child mortality are defined as deaths of children under age 1 and 5, respectively.

4. Despite the relatively few cases of child mortality, the result was statistically significant with a t-statistic of -2.05 (McIntosh & Zeitlin, 2018)

5. Progresa transfers increased income by about 22 percent (Barham, 2011). Infant and neonatal mortality are defined as death in the first year and 28 days of life, respectively (UNICEF, 2020)

6. Bolsa Familia “transfers ranged from $18 to$175 per month, depending on the income and composition of the family”; the effect size varied with the program’s coverage by municipality, the unit of analysis (Rasella et al., 2013)

7. Malawi (Abdoulayi et al., 2016) and Zambia (Seidenfeld et al., 2016; Seidenfeld & Handa, 2014).

8. Reproduced from Table 6.1 of The Precipice

9. Ord defines existential risk more broadly than killing all of humanity, as risks that destroy humanity’s potential. Climate change could, for example, threaten to kill so much of humanity, and leave the remainder in such uninhabitable environs, that our species spends the rest of its days living on subsistence without the capacity to advance; this would also qualify as an existential catastrophe.

10. 55.8 percent of the world population lived in democratic states as of 2015 (Roser, 2013)

11. Based on a “representative data set on time preferences from 80,000 individuals in 76 countries,” this study also found correlations between income and discount factors at the individual level (Dohmen et al., 2015)

12. Mexico (Carvalho, 2008) and Guatemala (Aycinena et al., 2019)

13. Using World Bank data from 186 countries, weighted by population (Ghenis, 2020)

14. As of 2018, global carbon emissions were 4.5 metric tons per capita, compared to 15.2 in the US and 4.6 in France (World Bank, 2021). NB: I updated this number compared to the book chapter, which used data from 2014, the latest available at its publication.

15. The US Treasury Department found that a carbon tax of $49 per metric ton could fund a rebate of$583 per person; this would raise the incomes of the bottom seven deciles, on average, at the cost of the upper three deciles (Horowitz et al., 2017). Another study found that a $50 per ton carbon dividend “benefits 56 percent of people, including 85 percent in the bottom half of the distribution” (Fremstad & Paul, 2019) 16. Per a poll from the Economic Security Project (Isenberg, 2017) 17. As of August 12, 2020, US excess mortality was about 200,000, while official Covid-19 deaths were about 140,000 (Lu, 2020) 18. As of September 28, 2020, a group of “superforecasters,” selected based on prediction accuracy across other outcomes, had assigned a 57 percent probability to global Covid-19 deaths exceeding 2.7 million by March 2020 (Good Judgment Project, 2020) 19. Covid-19 is projected to kill 145 Hawaiians per million population, vs. 693 Americans per million (Gu, 2020) 20. As of May 5, 2020, the COVID-19 death rate per 100,000 person-years was 143.2 in counties with 20% poverty or higher, and 83.3 in counties with 5% poverty or lower, in Illinois and New York (Chen & Krieger, 2020) 21. Counterintuitively, the same survey found that Americans earning under$36,000 per year were slightly more likely to wear masks than higher-income people (Gallup, 2020)

22. See papers on benchmarking UCTs to a child nutrition program (McIntosh & Zeitlin, 2018) and to an workforce training program (McIntosh & Zeitlin, 2020)

23. Purchase limitations prevent the poor from accessing normal markets, which in turn will make commercially-motivated AIs more uncertain about their preferences.

24. Cash transfers do not raise consumption of alcohol and tobacco (Evans & Popova, 2014)

25. Only the Additional Child Tax Credit component of the Child Tax Credit is refundable, meaning that it can reduce federal tax liability below zero.

26. I found that Yang’s plan would not be fully paid for (Ghenis, 2019a), as did the Tax Foundation (Pomerleau, 2019). A budget-neutral version of Yang’s plan, providing a monthly payment of $471 rather than$1,000, would reduce inequality by 9 percent instead, as measured by the Gini index (Ghenis, 2019b)

27. A death from malaria can be averted for under \$4,000, and most of these averted deaths are of children under 5 (GiveWell, 2020)

#### Max Ghenis

Max is the founder and president of the UBI Center.