This week saw basic income come up in the news in a variety of forms: Devex reported on basic income as a possible “new safety net” and basic income debates moved forward in Scotland, San Francisco, and Canada.


1. No time like the present to tackle the future of work and income
Devex, Catherine Cheney, January 27, 2017
Altman is also part of a collaborative called the Economic Security Project, a two-year fund of $10 million that will provide grants to fund further studies on universal basic income. The project is co-chaired by Foster, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, and Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren. Founding signatories also include Marina Gorbis, executive director of the Institute for the Future; Vinod Khosla; and Michael Faye, GiveDirectly’s co-founder whose team is testing universal basic income in Kenya.

2. A behavioral economist explains how basic income can work in the US
Business Insider, Chris Weller, January 25, 2017
The charity GiveDirectly launched a pilot version of the experiment in October of 2016. A full-scale trial lasting 12 years and involving thousands more people will begin later this year. Already, data has come back finding people are spending the money on things like home repair, education, and starting new businesses. Spending on drugs and alcohol has held steady or even gone down in certain cases.

3. 8 basic income experiments to watch out for in 2017
Business Insider, Chris Weller, January 24, 2017
In October of 2016, GiveDirectly, a charity best known for its cash transfer programs, launched a pilot version of what will become the largest basic income experiment in history. Beginning early 2017, 40 villages will receive roughly $22.50 per month for 12 years. Meanwhile, 80 villages will get the same amount for just two years, another 80 will get a lump sum equal to the two-year amount, and 100 villages will get no money.


4. Emerging markets should welcome low-cost private schools
The Economist, January 28, 2017
Given the state of the education system in many countries, that would be a nice problem to have. It is also wildly premature, if only because the business model remains unproven (see article). And governments have plenty of ways to foster competition. They could introduce school vouchers or conditional cash transfers for parents to spend on eligible schools. Liberia is running a randomised controlled trial in which eight different private operators run publicly funded schools.

5. To help the poor, rich countries should offer them cash, not cows
The National, Rafia Zakaria, January 27, 2017
The myth on which they rest is a familiar one: if given cash, the poor will immediately squander it or become dependent on it. They will, in sum, make the same poor decisions that the rich believe to be the cause of their poverty in the first place. This premise is wrong. In 2014, a pair of economists, Chris Blattman from Columbia University and Paul Niehaus from the University of California at San Diego, decided to test the efficiency of Heifer International’s hypothesis that giving animals was one of the best ways to alleviate poverty of the recipients.


6. Scottish government ‘interested’ in universal basic income
BBC, January 26, 2017
The concept of a universal basic income is of “interest” to the Scottish government as one potential option to reducing poverty and inequality. Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman said she was “watching” the impact of pilots in Finland, Holland and Canada.

7. Basic income project to be launched by San Francisco, with $5 million to start
San Francisco Business Times, Riley McDermid, January 2026 2017
“A focus on kids skirts a lot of the questions people usually have about basic income,” Klein said, Hoodline reports. The city has not yet decided how much money participants will receive, where or when it will begin, or how it will distribute the funding. But Klein did say that there were ways to study existing social safety nets to find the neediest residents for the project.


8. Ottawans give feedback on Ontario’s guaranteed income pilot project
CBC News, Kate Porter, January 25, 2017
Davis is excited that Ontario is looking at the idea of offering individuals a basic income, set at amounts higher than what the government provides for those on Ontario Works or disability support payments.

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