Does Universal Basic Income Work? This Hedge Fund Boss Wants to Find Out


As the idea of giving every American a monthly check migrates from the political fringes toward the center of policy debates, one hedge-fund executive is contributing research on whether, and how, such a scheme might actually work.

Bob Jain, 48, created the Jain Family Institute, a nonprofit applied-research organization, in 2014 to investigate, among other things, programs for “guaranteed income.” Better known as Universal Basic Income, the idea is to give money to people, regardless of income bracket, at regular intervals.

The concept of UBI has gained traction in recent years, particularly on the political left. It has both popularized and been popularized by presidential candidate Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur who has centered his campaignaround a UBI proposal he calls a Freedom Dividend. The idea also has resonated in certain corners of Silicon Valley, among those on the more comfortable side of the inequality divide. The growing interest in UBI is an outgrowth of concerns about rising inequality and threats to job security from robotics and artificial intelligence.

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