Jobless Benefits Don’t Make People ‘Lazy,’ Nobel Laureate Esther Duflo Says – The New York Times

There were a lot of worries during the coronavirus pandemic that the $600 weekly allowance under the Cares Act would discourage people from going back to work because it’s often more than they would make. But this has been studied by different groups of academics, who have found zero disincentive effect of that act.

People need to have meaning in their life. They need to make a difference in their job. People are looking for respect in the job that they are doing, and in the community they’re living in, and that’s much, much more dominant than the financial incentive.

And that’s very important because that means that No. 1, you shouldn’t be scared of taxing people. That’s not going to make them lazy. No. 2, you shouldn’t be scared of distributing money to people. That’s not going to make them lazy.