February 27, 2020: IRES Faculty Seminar with Jiaying Zhao

IRES Seminar Series

Time: 12:30pm to 1:30pm (every Thursday)

Location: AERL Theatre (room 120), 2202 Main Mall


The impact of direct giving on people experiencing homelessness: Experimental evidence from Vancouver, Canada

A growing body of research suggests that direct cash transfers are an effective solution to reduce global poverty, although most evidence comes from developing countries. The current study is the first randomized control trial in developed countries examining the impact of unconditional cash transfers on homeless individuals. Specifically, we distributed a one-time unconditional cash grant of $7,500 to each of 50 homeless individuals in Vancouver, with another group as controls. Our preliminary data show that the cash transfer results in significant improvements in housing stability, food security, savings, and cognitive function, with no increases in spending on temptation goods. Based on a cost-benefit analysis, the cash transfer results in net savings per person per month via reduced shelter use. Our preliminary findings suggest that unconditional cash transfers can be an effective and cost-effective solution to reduce homelessness in developed countries.

Jiaying Zhao

Associate Professor, IRES and Department of Psychology
Canada Research Chair (t2, Behavioral Sustainability)


Jiaying Zhao is the Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Sustainability, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at UBC. Her research uses psychological principles to design behavioural solutions to address financial and environmental sustainability challenges.

Website: https://zhaolab.psych.ubc.ca/

IRES Profile: https://ires.ubc.ca/person/jiaying-zhao/

Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=w6d1YTgAAAAJ&hl=en