Bloomberg: "The Year Basic Income Programs Went Mainstream"
Bloomberg’s Sarah Holder recaps national motion on guaranteed income in 2021, including an interview with JFI’s lead researcher on guaranteed income Stephen Nuñez about evidence gleaned from existing pilots and programs, as well as what future pilots can teach us.
“I think personally that the body of knowledge that we have is already sufficient to push for change in the safety net,” said Stephen Nunez, the lead researcher on guaranteed income at the Jain Family Institute. “This is a market economy and if you give people money, they’re going to be better off almost by definition by having money. The better question is better off compared to what.”
Evidence from other countries and from U.S.-led cash assistance programs has found that the monthly support sometimes reduces work hours slightly, Nunez said, and increases positive health outcomes. Early research on the 2021 U.S.child tax credit shows that families overwhelmingly spent their extra cash on food and utilities; the Census Bureau also found that the first payment alone corresponded with a drop in food insecurity in households with kids. In Stockton, California, where a basic income trial ended at the beginning of this year, the research group also reported mood improvements, less income volatility, and more full-time employment than before the money — and compared to the control group.