Several years ago, researchers in Kenya decided to study the effects of a universal basic income (UBI) trial on people’s well-being.
Some 6,000 recipients in a 12-year trial beginning around 2017 received 75 cents a day — not much, but enough, their research found, for people to be less food-insecure and more likely to start a business. Others received payments for just two years (that ended in December 2019), and still others received a lump sum payment.
In early 2020, the coronavirus hit. In response, governments like Kenya’s imposed harsh lockdowns that sought to prevent the virus’s spread, but that also had devastating impacts on the economy.Read more
After hundreds of years, basic income seems to be finally catching on.
The general idea — that the government should give every citizen a regular infusion of free money with no strings attached — has been around since the 16th century. But it’s experienced a remarkable resurgence over the past few years, moving from the fringes into the mainstream.
Advocates ranging from tech billionaire Mark Zuckerberg to libertarian economist Milton Friedman have endorsed it. Andrew Yang popularized it on the Democratic debate stage. And around the world, countries are running pilot programs to test it.Read more
For about a decade now, the charity GiveDirectly has been distributing cash straight to poor residents in sub-Saharan Africa, starting in Kenya and expanding later to Uganda, Malawi, Rwanda, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Morocco.
The organization was founded by economists, and has been studying the impact of its programs from the get-go. But the research has focused narrowly on recipients: Were they better off, the same, or worse off than people not getting cash?Read more
Basic Income Earth Network
Stimulus to work
Richard O., 43, is a father of nine children. The couple and the eldest son, aged 18, receive a basic income. Richard paid school fees for his children to study and bought goats, $150 and $200 USD each. He also bought a cow for $250, which provides milk for the family. Now he wants a bull, which costs $300. Richard says basic income has encouraged him to work harder: “when there is opportunity, ambition grows”, he explains. “The benefit has created the possibility for people to dream of a better life.” Richard is dreaming.Read more
An American charity launched this week a 12-year-long experiment in Kenya involving 6,000 people and $30 million to test the potential success of basic income. By the year, 2030, researchers will have troves of data on how basic income has affected thousands.
The founders of the New York-based nonprofit GiveDirectly distinguish their basic income experiment from others by selecting people in “extreme poverty” for their study, the early results of which they expect to receive “within the next year or two.”Read more
By Hardeep Matharu, The Independent
A charity is aiming to provide thousands of Kenyans with a basic income for at least the next decade in a bid to investigate how a fundamental level of economic freedom could change people’s lives.
GiveDirectly, an organisation that was set up to transfer cash payments to those in poverty in Kenya and neighbouring Uganda, has said it now wants to structure its donations in such a way that would guarantee at least 6,000 Kenyans “an ongoing income, high enough to meet their basic needs – a universal basis income or basic income guarantee”.Read more