Impact Study of Gaming Per Capita Distributions

Unique Data Set. As discussed in the January 18, 2014, New York Times’ article, “What Happens When the Poor Receive a Stipend?” research led by Professor Jane Costello of Duke University Medical School explores the impact of a per-capita distribution from gaming profits from a casino that opened in 1996 on family outcomes for members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina. With one of very few longitudinal data sets that includes a large number of Native participants, Costello has followed 1,420 rural youth – including 350 Cherokee youth – since 1992. Over time, her research has indicated that these financial supplements contribute to an increase in on-time high school graduation, a decline in minor crimes committed, lower prevalence of substance abuse and mental health problems in adulthood for the youngest children. Emerging analysis from Native Hawaiian economist, Professor Randall Akee of the University of California, Los Angeles, further suggests that these future savings surpass the initial costs of the per-capita payments. There are some other results that bear further study related to youth weight gain in families receiving supplements and increases in accidental deaths in the months payments were released. This research has some implications about the impact of poverty and economic development in a tribal community. One of Costello’s earliest papers is available here, and a 2010 paper is available here.