The good folks at Vox take a long look at Universal Basic Income in various forms and conclude it works best when it is most focused on children.
The most cost-effective way to reduce US poverty with a basic income plan will likely involve larger benefits for children than adults…The plan they considered that came out looking the best was what they dubbed the “Children Plus Plan.” The proposal, modeled for the year 1994, would have given seniors $13,271 or their Social Security payment, whichever’s higher; adults $5,226 each; and children $6,636 each (I’ve adjusted each amount for subsequent inflation).
The inevitable counter-argument is going to be that payments for children inspire poor women to have more babies. That’s a theory that has been repeatedly disproven. Reports going back nearly 25 years show plainly that women do not have more children for the sake of a small increase in government benefits.
Repeated studies show no correlation between benefit levels and women’s choice to have children. States providing relatively higher benefits do not show higher birth rates among recipients. In any case, welfare allowances are far too low to serve as any kind of “incentive”: A mother on welfare can expect about $90 in additional AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) benefits if she has another child.
This is one of the arguments we’re going to have to defeat.