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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, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @07:22AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @07:22AM (#1214467)

    The US housing crash was due to government intervention disrupting natural economic balance. The US student debt crisis is due to government intervention disrupting natural economic balance. Surely, third time's the charm?

    No, that's simply not true. The laissez faire capitalism you advocate for inherently leads to extreme inequality and civil unrest. That experiment has failed many times, but you seem intent on repeating it. The failures of laissez faire were one of the major causes of the French Revolution. The underlying principle of laissez faire capitalism is that markets are efficient and government influence will always make them less efficient. If economics were held to the same standard as the physical sciences, laissez faire capitalism would have been discarded long ago, because there is ample evidence supporting that the lack of government regulation often leads to inefficient outcomes.

    The economic crises you describe are not because the government regulated the market, but that the government did a poor job of regulating the market. The problem isn't Keynesian economic theory, but that the government doesn't actually practice the ideas of Keynes. Governments tend to regulate the market to promote growth, but politicians generally oppose interventions to prevent the growth of bubbles. Regulation isn't the problem, but rather that governments generally only practice the half of Keynesian theory about promoting economic growth. Politicians generally don't want interventions that slow the market to prevent the growth of bubbles, instead wanting more growth and allowing bubbles to expand.

    With respect to student loans, a big part of the problem is that employers generally expect a college education for all but the lowest paying jobs, regardless of whether a college education is actually necessary to do the job. This is coupled with the excesses of university administrations and decreasing public funding for institutions of higher education. If we increased public funding for higher education, reversing the trend of budget cuts, and restricted abuses by administrators, we could lower the cost of a college education. As for the failures of the labor market, they could be addressed by mandating a second minimum wage threshold for jobs posted where a college education is required. If it becomes more expensive to require a college education, businesses would change their hiring practices. We could reverse the trend toward requiring a college degree with a bit of common sense regulation.

    The laissez faire capitalism you support has a very long list of failures and belongs in the trash can of history.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, @06:04PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, @06:04PM (#1214825)

    Let me know when the 10 point, single-space printed book of federal regulations (to say nothing of state additions) is small enough not to choke a horse.

    Until then, laissez-faire capitalism is about as scary as vampire tooth fairies, because it's as imaginarily hypothetical.