A ground-breaking study into the impact on recipients of a basic income has started in Germany. The study team includes Associate Professor of Economics, Maximillian Kasy, along with researchers from German institutions, and is financed by the German NGO “My Basic Income”.
The distinguishing feature of a basic income is that it is unconditional. Participants will receive a monthly income for three years, irrespective of age, ability to work, sickness, or work history, giving them income security and peace of mind.
The study will look at the behaviour and welfare of the participants, which comprises a group receiving the basic income and a control group that will not (although they will be given small incentives to be involved in the research through completing surveys).
The evaluation will focus on aspects of behaviour and welfare which might be distinctively impacted by a basic income, relative to other forms of social protection, in particular by the fact that a basic income gives recipients complete freedom of choice. Outcomes that will be studied include whether the participants secure work or develop their skills, what they spend their money on, how they use their time, and their physical and mental wellbeing.
The three year study will help determine if a basic income has an impact on the participants in terms of, for example, their health, their beliefs, their employment status and their household expenditure.
Maximilian Kasy explains “A basic income has the potential to become an important component of future social welfare systems. It could provide unconditional outside options which improve the negotiation position of those worst off (in employment, with the state, and in romantic partnerships). A basic income could also cover previously uncovered populations and reduce stigma and issues of benefit takeup. I am excited about being part of this trial, which will explore to what extent these promises are born out in practice”
The authors of the study are: Sandra Bohmann (German Institute for Economic Research), Susann Fiedler (Max Planck Institute), Maximilian Kasy (University of Oxford), Jurgen Schupp (German Institute for Economic Research), Frederik Schwerter (University of Cologne).