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posted by martyb on Thursday January 20, @01:12AM   Printer-friendly
from the of-course-nobody-ever-gets-bored dept.

Study: Basic income would not reduce people's willingness to work:

A basic income would not necessarily mean that people would work less. This is the conclusion of a series of behavioral experiments by cognitive psychologist Fenna Poletiek, social psychologist Erik de Kwaadsteniet and cognitive psychologist Bastiaan Vuyk. They also found indications that people with a basic income are more likely to find a job that suits them better.

The psychologists received a grant from the FNV union to research the behavioral effects of a basic income. They simulated the reward structure of different forms of social security in an experiment. "We got people to do a task on a computer," says De Kwaadsteniet. "In multiple rounds, which represented the months they had to work, they did a boring task in which they had to put points on a bar. The more of these they did, the more money they earned."

The psychologists researched three different conditions: no social security, a conditional benefits system and an unconditional basic income. De Kwaadsteniet: "In the condition without social security, the test participants didn't receive a basic sum. In the benefits condition they received a basic sum, which they lost as soon as they started working. In the basic income condition they received the same basic sum but didn't lose this when they started work."

The basic income did not cause a reduction in the participants' willingness to work and efforts, say the psychologists. Nor did their salary expectations increase. "In the discussion on a basic income, it's sometimes said that people will sit around doing nothing if you give them free money," says Poletiek, who saw no indications of such a behavioral effect.

What would you do if you were to receive a basic income?


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  • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Thursday January 20, @07:08PM (1 child)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 20, @07:08PM (#1214285) Homepage Journal

    Can't argue any of that. My point was, it needs to be applied to real life. Just because a class of economists sell some politicians on an idea doesn't mean that the idea will work with real people, in real life. Computer simulations might suggest that a system has a good chance of success, but people aren't going to conform to any set of simulations. Even if some test groups of people perform in laboratory conditions as the simulations have suggested, that is still not real life. Real people, with real problems, real bills, real obligations, real needs have to be tested.

    trying to find out how to get people off of welfare

    We've kicked that idea around a few times on SN. It seems to be a consensus among Soylentils that welfare is done all wrong in the US. Start with the idea that a welfare recipient who gets X dollars loses all his welfare benefits if he goes to work, and earns X dollars. It needs to be prorated somehow, so that he is rewarded for getting a job, not punished with termination of benefits.

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  • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Saturday January 22, @12:35AM

    by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Saturday January 22, @12:35AM (#1214675) Homepage Journal

    I thought it was telling that the Thompson and Edgar administrations used real scientists, sociologists and psychologists, and not economists. Surprising because they were Republican administrations, things were less political back then. Economics isn't a science unless it has really advanced since I was in college and dropped an economics class.

    I had been stationed in Thailand only a year earlier and knew a primitive economy first hand. The three clowns who taught the class opined that since in third world countries they could live on $1000 a month, we could, too. Incredibly ignorant, in Thailand you could rent a bungalow for $30 a month or less, feed four people in a restaurant, including American Pepsi for less than a dollar, take a taxi anywhere for a buck or a bus anywhere for a nickel. I stood up, explained the situation to them, and walked out. A large number of classmates followed me. I dropped that class immediately, of course. The scientists I worked with did controlled experiments that paid off in the real world.

    You're right that welfare is done all wrong in the US. We really don't have welfare as the rest of the world knows it. In America, welfare goes to the employer, not the employee. That LINK card doesn't help the full time McDonald's worker, it helps the franchise. Before Nixon the minimum wage was high enough that the only welfare needed was unemployment compensation.

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