Universal Basic Income (or UBI) is a cash grant provided to all members of a community without conditions or strings attached. The proposal has a long history and is now being discussed and piloted throughout the world. The punitiveness and inefficiency of safety nets where I have lived (France, UK and US) upset me, and the proposal of an unconditional income guarantee felt like a breath of fresh air when I first was introduced to it in 2008.
Since then, I have sought to learn, research and teach the philosophy, history, politics and economics of the proposal. To learn more about the values that underpin the proposal, you can read my paper The Political Theory of Universal Basic Income and download the Syllabus of my class at Stanford.
In 2017, I set up the Stanford Basic Income lab as a research initiative of the McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society. We first played a convening role, organizing events on key themes (racial justice, gender equity, health, etc) and gathering the first in the nation gathering of Mayors and other city leaders together with researchers to inform and kick-start a wave of city-led basic income experiments in the US. At the time, we produced a toolkit for city leaders that can be downloaded here.
The lab has grown to become a trusted home for the academic study of UBI. We produce research (including reviews of the evidence) as well as facilitate lateral learnings across experiments and gather lessons learned and recommendations (including through policy briefs).
In the spirit of public service and knowledge accessibility, we also develop user-friendly visualizations and online tools on UBI research. One example is our Research Visualization which presents existing knowledge in an accessible platform organized across multiple themes and sub-themes. It presents comprehensive summaries of articles, research papers, and books produced on UBI to date and enables viewers to see the diversity of approaches that have been taken on UBI and related policies. It looks like this: