Emma Dahl Comments
One of the main issues we face with UBI studies is modeling them to scale. The GiveDirectly study is interesting in that it’s been able to track more accurately both what the long run, and macroeconomic impacts of such a study are.
Tony Siebers Comments
With technology’s increasing role, some barriers to positive change will come in the form of technological pushback.
In the Kenyan UBI trial, GiveDirectly had to use technology and communications that rely on cellular phones. Social programs will need to build coalitions with tech innovators, each focused on their core strengths, to advance their mutually beneficial missions.
An overview of basic income studies shows that while the studies are not perfect, they are getting closer to a macroeconomic simulation of this type of welfare. The article below addresses the GiveDirectly study that is currently taking place in Kenya, which is the longest and most impactful study to date.
Along the shores of Lake Victoria in western Kenya, mobile phones in several hundred villages ding in unison on the first of every month. For more than 21,000 adults, the sound means one thing: 2,250 Kenyan shillings appearing in their bank accounts. The cash equals one-quarter to half of the average income for a two-adult household in Bomet County, one of the poorest in Kenya.
The money (roughly US$22.50) arrives courtesy of the US-based charity GiveDirectly, which is studying the effects of handing people lumps of cash with no strings attached — an idea known as a universal basic income (UBI). The mobile phones in these villages will ding every month for the next 12 years, making this UBI trial the longest and largest ever conducted.