Basic Income Lab
In 2016, the policy proposal for a "universal basic income" grew more favorable in American opinion. Among many others, Andrew Stern, Robert Reich, and Martin Ford published books advocating for a guaranteed income for all. Poverty, structural unemployment, growing inequalities, automation, and precariousness are some of the concerns that basic income proponents sought to address with a policy that was described as a "disarmingly simple idea" — give everyone cash, no strings attached, unconditionally and individually. What kind of basic income would work? What would people do with free cash? Would they stop working, would they work more, would they volunteer more? Under which condition (if any) can people thrive without a job? Would a basic income cause inflation? Is it affordable? The Center for Ethics in Society has launched the Basic Income Lab (BIL) to help answer some of these questions.
Universal Basic Income (UBI) consists of a periodic cash allowance given to all citizens, without means test to provide them with a standard of living above the poverty line. It takes on distinct forms in different historical and geographic contexts and it varies based on the funding proposal, the level of payment, the frequency of payment, and the particular policies proposed around it. Each of these parameters are fundamental, even if a range of versions still technically count as UBI (a universal, unconditional, individual, regular and cash payment).
As automation, growing inequalities, persistent poverty, social precariousness and structural unemployment threaten economic security both in the United States and around the world, many policymakers, practitioners, academics and policymakers have begun to consider Universal Basic Income (UBI) to address these issues. UBI experiments have been conducted in countries as different as Kenya, Finland, Namibia, India, and Canada and increasingly in the United States.
Within this context, there is an increasing need for in-depth academic research on how to design, implement and evaluate UBI; on what UBI’s potential impacts could be; and, on how it could be turned into an economically and politically feasible program.
The Stanford Basic Income Lab (BIL) aims to promote an informed public conversation on Universal Basic Income (UBI) and its potential in alleviating poverty, precariousness and inequality. An initiative of the McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society at Stanford, BIL fosters research on UBI, holds events around the politics, philosophy and economics of the proposal, brings together thought partners, practitioners, policymakers and academics to document best practices and discuss implementation challenges, and derives practical recommendations for advancing basic income proposals.
More information is available at basicincome.stanford.edu
- The Stanford Basic Income Lab is led by Faculty Director Juliana Bidadanure
- Assistant Professor in Philosophy.
- Meet the rest of the team at https://basicincome.stanford.edu/about/people/
For inquiries about the Basic Income Lab, email basicincomelab [at] stanford.edu.
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