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The Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend and Membership in the State's Political Community

14 Pages Posted: 24 May 2012  

Christopher L. Griffin Jr.

Harvard Law School

Date Written: May 1, 2012


Despite decades of unmitigated administrative success, the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) is not immune from political and legal controversy. The symbolic and financial importance that Alaskans ascribe to their annual dividend checks has generated disputes between ordinary residents and executive agencies over eligibility. Litigation concerning three dominant status requirements — minimum residency, U.S. citizenship, and felony incarceration — reveal not only the extent to which Alaskans will pursue what they believe to be valid claims on their share of natural resource wealth, but also the limits of full political membership in the state. This Comment frames a sample of the Alaska Supreme Court’s decisions on PFD eligibility in terms of membership in Alaska’s political community. The PFD reflects the Alaska Legislature’s opinion about valid beneficiaries from oil revenues, and the state courts police eligibility at the margin. This Comment therefore argues that the Alaska Supreme Court implicitly determines, on the basis of statutory intent and administrative rule interpretations, “insiders” and “outsiders” within the state’s political community.

Keywords: Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend, asset-based welfare, universal asset policies, stakeholding, economic citizenship

JEL Classification: E62, H71, I31, I38, Q32, Q38

Suggested Citation

Griffin, Christopher L., The Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend and Membership in the State's Political Community (May 1, 2012). Alaska Law Review, Vol. 29, No. 1, 2012. Available at SSRN:

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