Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Social Work

Major Professor

Stacia M. West

Committee Members

Doug Coatsworth, Jana Morgan, Courtney Cronley


This three-paper dissertation examines the impact of guaranteed income (GI) and cash transfer (CT) programs on political participation, aiming to contribute to understanding how social policies can shape civic engagement. The first paper provides a comprehensive literature review on GI and CT programs, focusing on their potential effects on political participation. By analyzing existing studies, this paper identifies key findings and gaps in the literature, setting the stage for further empirical investigation. The second paper develops and tests a new instrument called the Brief Political Participation Scale (BPPS), designed to measure political participation concisely and reliably. The third paper presents an experimental study comparing political participation rates between a treatment group receiving a monthly GI of $500 for 24 months and a control group with no intervention. The study employs the BPPS to measure political participation, revealing the effects of GI on political engagement. By comparing the treatment and control groups, this paper provides valuable insights into the potential of GI programs to influence political participation and attempts to address the research gaps identified in the literature review. This dissertation contributes to understanding the relationship between GI and CT programs and political participation. By examining the existing literature, developing a new measurement tool, and conducting an empirical study, this research comprehensively analyzes how income-based social policies can shape political engagement. It offers implications for researchers, policymakers, and practitioners seeking to enhance political participation within their communities.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."