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After years of conjecture – Cash in the News

Our basic income trial continued to make headlines this week after our announcement in Slate two weeks ago. Cofounder Michael Faye spoke with Andrew Flowers of FiveThirtyEight, telling him, “To be honest, a full long-term universal basic income has never been tried, let alone rigorously evaluated.” In Fast Company, Ben Schiller reports: “After years of conjecture about the possible merits and demerits of UBI, we could finally get some data to go on.”


GIVEDIRECTLY IN THE NEWS AND BLOGS

1. What Would Happen If We Just Gave People Money?
FiveThirtyEight, Andrew Flowers, April 25, 2016
GiveDirectly, which is launching the basic income pilot in Kenya, has previously run RCTs to examine the effects of giving cash unconditionally; those experiments have shown that cash works wonders, and the peer-reviewed results have won over economists. The children of recipients are healthier and get more education; adults earn more income by using the cash to plan investments over a longer horizon; spending on alcohol and other vices — a worry some critics of cash grants raise — stays flat or even declines.

2. This charity is about to provide a basic income to people in Kenya, for 10 years
Global Citizen, Tom Murphy, April 25, 2016
Roughly 6,000 people in Kenya will get money for at least the next 10 years – no strings attached. The program is a new experiment launched by GiveDirectly, a charity that does what its name says, gives people money in Kenya and Uganda. There are no conditions on how the money is spent, people will get the income supplement and spend it as they see fit.
  
3. Charity To Amp Up Direct Aid Mission In Impoverished East Africa
NPR’s Weekend Edition, Rachel Martin, April 24, 2016
The charity GiveDirectly announced plans to give 6000 people living in extreme poverty a guaranteed income for a decade. NPR’s Rachel Martin speaks with co-founder Michael Faye about the project.
  
4. We’ll Soon Have Hard Evidence About The Benefits Of A Universal Basic Income
Fast Company, Ben Schiller, April 20, 2016
GiveDirectly’s cofounder Michael Faye says the advantages of experimenting in Africa start with costs. The nonprofit’s $30 million pilot will cost about 30 times less than the equivalent study in the U.S. or Europe. Up to 15,000 people will be involved, with 6,000 getting the full basic income amount (probably about $1 a day) and the rest getting one of two variants: the same amount over a shorter period (two or five years, say) and a smaller amount.

5. To Test Basic Income, 6,000 People Will Get a Salary Just for Being Alive
Mic, Jack Smith IV, April 19, 2016
The concept of basic income is gathering steam. It’s not too surprising that people would be excited about the idea of everybody getting a paycheck just for being alive. What’s extraordinary is that some people are willing to pay those salaries. GiveDirectly, a charity that sends cash to people in Kenya and Uganda, is raising $30 million to fund a program that will give 6,000 Kenyans a basic living wage, no matter what, for 10 years, the Verge reported.

6. What If We Just Gave Poor People a Basic Income for Life?
AEA in the news, April 15, 2016
An article in Slate by the co-founders of GiveDirectly cited a study from this month’s issue of the American Economic Review. In “The Long-Run Impact of Cash Transfers to Poor Families,” the authors study the effects of the Mothers’ Pension welfare program active in several U.S. states between 1911 and 1935. Using several decades’ worth of census and death records, they find that the male children of mothers who were accepted into the program ended up living a full year longer and obtaining a third of a year more schooling on average than male children of mothers who were rejected.

CASH IN INTERNATIONAL AID

7. ​When disaster relief brings anything but relief
CBS News, Scott Simon, April 24, 2016
“And cash donations enable relief organizations to purchase supplies locally, which ensures that they’re fresh and familiar to survivors, purchased in just the right quantities, and delivered quickly. And those local purchases support the local merchants, which strengthens the local economy for the long run.”

8. Cash transfers on the rise
The Fiji Times Online, Rasmus Schojoedt, April 21, 2016
Despite increasing evidence of their value, the use of cash transfers in emergencies is still limited. ODI’s Paul Harvey estimated in a recent article in the Guardian, as well as a guest piece on Duncan Green’s “From Poverty to Power” blog, that only 6 per cent of humanitarian aid is currently provided in the form of cash transfers. So far there seem to be more appetite for writing about cash transfers in emergencies than actually doing it.

BASIC INCOME

9. Why free money beats bullshit jobs
Fusion, Rutger Bregman, April 24, 2016
The universal basic income is an idea whose time has come. And, slowly but surely, it is converting members of the tech elite. It’s a radical idea: everyone should get an unconditional, monthly allowance, whether you’re rich or poor, old or young, overworked or out of work. An allowance that should be enough to live on, and how you spend it is up to you. The only condition, as such, is that you have a pulse.

10. All of the problems Universal Basic Income can solve that have nothing to do with unemployment
Quartz, Olivia Goldhill, April 24, 2016
Universal Basic Income isn’t just mankind’s answer to the threat of robots in the workplace. Those who support the transformative economic policy offer widely varying versions of exactly how it would operate, but all involve distributing a standard sum of money to citizens regardless of need. Many argue that this set-up could save the millions who are on track to lose their jobs to machines. But that’s not all.