What would happen if we asked bigger questions?

OpenResearch offers a new model in the world of research. 

Who we are

OpenResearch is a nonprofit research organization with a startup mentality. 

Drawing on the strengths of traditional academic research and the creativity and problem-solving characteristics of startups, we ask big, open-ended questions and gather comprehensive data to fill pivotal knowledge gaps.

OpenResearch’s Unconditional Cash Study 

The most comprehensive look into the impacts of unconditional cash in the U.S. to date

Unconditional Cash Study

3,000 people received monthly cash transfers for three years. 

Approximately one-third of participants, the recipient group, received $1,000 a month. Two-thirds comprised the control group and received $50 a month. 

At the time of enrollment: 

Participants' average household income was $29,990 a year.

Participants were between the ages of 21 and 40.

Participants were selected from rural, suburban, and urban areas in Illinois and Texas.

Our team and nonprofit partners ensured most participants would not lose existing benefits, even passing a law in one state to do so.


Read our latest findings 

Participant Stories

Read & listen to participant stories 

Our research is designed to produce a multidimensional understanding of how unconditional cash affects people’s lives. 



Overall Response Rate at Endline


Qualitative Participants


Elizabeth Rhodes
Research Director

“We view this study as a foundation for a broad research agenda on how best to promote economic inclusivity both now and in the future. Our goal is to learn from participants’ experiences and better understand both the potential and the limitations of unconditional cash.”

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Karina Dotson
Research & Insights Manager

“The comprehensive use of both quantitative and qualitative analysis allows us to delve into the complexities of people's lives. We are able to capture their nuanced experiences with rich qualitative narratives and also explore the causal factors behind those experiences with our quantitative data. This holistic approach is what drew me to the project and what I believe is foundational to creating change.”

Photo of Karina Dotson

Patrick Krause
Data Director

“There are several factors that set this project apart from previous studies. The large sample size, the long duration, the amount of factors researched and the extremely high response rates. While one of these elements may exist in prior research, the combination of all of them in one study is a level of rigor we believe is unique in this space.”

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    More to come on the effects of unconditional cash. Covering topics from politics to effects on children, we'll share additional findings in the coming months. 


    Later in 2024, additional findings will be publicly available on topics including politics, relationships and household composition, and effects on children. 


    In 2025, we plan to share findings on well-being, material hardship, crime, and children's education. 


    Participant surveys and interviews will continue into 2025. We will then analyze the post-transfer data and make a fully de-identified data set publicly available.