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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: 4, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Thursday January 20, @08:23PM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday January 20, @08:23PM (#1214324)

    Like most global economic models: it depends. It depends on so many real world variables, with so many feedback loops, that simplified models break down when you make massive changes. This, more than anything, I believe is holding back UBI. It's a sufficiently large and fundamental shift that it makes the future unpredictable. Anybody who says they "know exactly" what will happen is either intentionally lying (usually to drive an agenda) or wildly overconfident (lying to themselves).

    I feel that the best way to get to UBI is to roll it out incrementally. We did a little of this during the pandemic, but you can't draw much - if any - conclusions from that due to the radical differences between pandemic stimulus and true reliable UBI.

    Start at something like $100 per month per person and increase it slowly. Re-evaluate annually, but if it's really going to be UBI it has to be RELIABLE, so changes should also be small, incremental, non-shocking. When we get to the point that people have basic rent and food in low cost areas covered by UBI, that may be the point at which to stop.

    Personally, I think the reliable availability of $400 to $600 per month per person might just lead to a certain amount of deflation: market prices dropping to provide affordable, yet still profitable, services to the known supply of people who have at least UBI. As things are today people tend to either have plenty of money, or not nearly enough - often zero. You can't make profit serving people who have nothing to give, but you can make profit providing safe room and board at $10 per night per person.

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