NBC News

Critics say Yang’s cash giveaway means people won’t work. Alaska says otherwise.

Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang is making a name for himself on the campaign trail with a radical plan to provide all Americans over the age of 18 with $12,000 of income annually from government funds. He often points to one state that has had a similar system in place for decades — Alaska.

Ioana Marinescu, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice, and Damon Jones, a professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, studied the effects of the fund on the Alaskan labor market by comparing trends in the state with similar states like Wyoming and Utah.

We were like, ‘Oh wow, this is interesting,'” Marinescu told NBC News. “Not necessarily what we expected because economic theory tells us that when people get money, that should reduce their desire to work. We find that what likely happened here is that receiving all this cash meant that people were spending more at local businesses, and that’s stimulating employment.”