JFI speaks with Vox on new Mayors for Guaranteed Income Initiative

In an in-depth Vox feature on the new Mayors for Guaranteed Income (MfGI) Initiative, Dylan Matthews spoke with JFI researchers Sidhya Balakrishnan, Director of Research, and Stephen Nuñez, Lead Researcher on Guaranteed Income, on the case for continued pilots and the potential for MfGI to expand its impact on research.

In particular, Sidhya and Steve emphasized that pilots must be consciously designed to avoid duplicating past experiments with guaranteed income, and to offer robust evidence for determining the best ways to design guaranteed income policy. In Newark, JFI is working to ensure the pilot can test for optimal amounts and frequencies that would maximize a cash transfer’s positive impacts.

From the article:

“These are parameters of a guaranteed income policy that haven’t been tested extensively yet, and Balakrishnan argues the Newark trial is well-equipped to answer. ‘There’s very little evidence on what the optimal cash subsidy looks like,’ Balakrishnan told me. ‘You need evidence with a large sample size. It’s also important to know when people need that money.’

Mayors for Guaranteed Income is a coalition of 17 mayors who published an op-ed in Time declaring a commitment to investing in pilots in their cities as well as advocacy on federal and state levels for guaranteed income policy. The coalition includes Stockton’s Mayor Michael Tubbs, Los Angeles’s Eric Garcetti, Atlanta’s Keisha Lance Bottoms and others.

JFI has designed pilots and pilot research for multiple guaranteed income initiatives, including for Stockton SEED (see the pre-analysis plan here). The recently-published Newark Task Force Report on Guaranteed Income was authored by JFI Fellow Rachel Black, now Associate Director of the Aspen Financial Security Program, alongside Stephen Nuñez with input from our partners in the City of Newark and the Economic Security Project. That report recommends efforts to support a guaranteed income at all levels of government, and notes existing models for pilots. As Newark Mayor Ras Baraka joined the Mayors for Guaranteed Income (MfGI), JFI is continuing to work with the City of Newark to make a guaranteed income pilot a reality for Newarkers.

Read the full Vox article here, and thank you to Dylan Matthews for the feature.