The public health crisis caused by corona virus disease (COVID-19) has required social distancing measures that have resulted in drops in economic activity and employment not seen since the Great Depression. In response, several countries have introduced government guarantees of worker paychecks. This paper provides a simple analysis of the potential fiscal costs of introducing such a guarantee in the U.S. The analysis finds that a program providing a 100% paycheck guarantee for all non-public sector workers, capped at an annual salary of $100,000 and including healthcare benefits, would cost approximately $115.7 billion per month, or $347 billion for a 3-month program. The paper considers the sensitivity of this estimate to assumptions as well as alternative proposal scenarios. The paper concludes that the benefits of such a program in preserving employment are likely to far outweigh the fiscal costs.


Beinhocker, E. (2020). 'Estimates of Costs for a U.S. Paycheck Guarantee'. INET Oxford Working Paper No. 2020-07.
Download Document (pdf, 506.555 kB)