The most comprehensive study of basic income in the United States

We're undertaking a ground-breaking research project to measure the impact of a basic income in the United States

About

In the US, extreme poverty has dramatically increased, the middle class is shrinking, and employment and incomes have become more volatile and unpredictable.

The technological and economic forces that contribute to these trends are unlikely to subside, and existing social programs have proven insufficient to stem them.

Individuals and families across the income spectrum feel this insecurity, and the poor are particularly unable to embrace opportunities that lead to long-term economic security. They don’t have the freedom to make investments in education or training, take risks that those with financial or family support often take for granted, or decide how to use public assistance to meet their specific needs.

The patchwork of programs comprising the safety net is complex, difficult to navigate, and costly to administer. Many individuals are ineligible for assistance and millions of Americans remain in poverty.

It's time for a new approach.

Basic income is a bold idea to end poverty, improve economic security, and smooth the transition as technological advances and economic dynamics reshape the nature of work. Basic income is an unconditional cash transfer guaranteed to all individuals—there are no work requirements, means tests, or restrictions on how the money can be spent. Everyone receives the income individually, in an amount sufficient to cover basic needs.

Public interest in basic income has skyrocketed as many have realized that current social spending fails to adequately meet people’s needs and prepare them for rapid changes in the labor market. Despite the buzz, no researchers have taken on the challenge of exploring what a basic income really means for individuals in the US. OpenResearch is bringing together leading researchers and leveraging the technical expertise, ingenuity, and operational strengths of Silicon Valley. This project is the first step toward defining a new social contract for the 21st century.

People

The Basic Income team is made up of OpenResearch staff, Principal Investigators, and Advisors

Principal Investigators

Alex Bartik

Alex Bartik

Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Research Affiliate of the Poverty Lab at the University of Chicago

David Broockman

David Broockman

Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley

Sarah Miller

Sarah Miller

Assistant Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

Elizabeth Rhodes

Elizabeth Rhodes

Research Director, Basic Income Study

Sandra Smith

Sandra Smith

Daniel & Florence Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Eva Vivalt

Eva Vivalt

Lecturer in Economics at the Australian National University

Jessica Wiederspan

Jessica Wiederspan

Postdoctoral fellow at OpenResearch

Advisors

Ed Dolan

Ed Dolan

Senior Fellow at the Niskanen Center

Greg Duncan

Greg Duncan

Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of California, Irvine

Natalie Foster

Natalie Foster

Co-chair of the Economic Security Project

David Grusky

David Grusky

Barbara Kimball Browning Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, Professor of Sociology, Senior Fellow of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, Director of the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, and coeditor of Pathways Magazine

Lawrence Katz

Lawrence Katz

Elisabeth Allison Professor of Economics at Harvard University

Connie Razza

Connie Razza

Director of Policy & Research at Demos

Cecilia Rouse

Cecilia Rouse

Dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, the Katzman-Ernst Professor in Economics and Education and professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University

Rachel Schneider

Rachel Schneider

Omidyar Network Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program (FSP)

Luke Shaefer

Luke Shaefer

Director of Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan, Associate Professor at the University of Michigan, School of Social Work and Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

Eldar Shafir

Eldar Shafir

Class of 1987 Professor of Behavioral Science and Public Policy at Princeton University

Sandra Smith

Sandra Smith

Daniel & Florence Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Michael Strain

Michael Strain

Director of Economic Policy Studies and John G. Searle Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute

Tavneet Suri

Tavneet Suri

Associate Professor of Applied Economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management

Alford Young, Jr.

Alford Young, Jr.

Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Sociology, Afroamerican and African Studies, and Public Policy (by courtesy) at the University of Michigan

OpenResearch Staff

Patrick Krause

Patrick Krause

Data Manager

Sam Manning

Sam Manning

Research Manager

Elizabeth Proehl

Elizabeth Proehl

Operations Manager

Elizabeth Rhodes

Elizabeth Rhodes

Research Director, Basic Income Study

Publications

Get in Touch

For any details or inquries, reach out at contact@openresearchlab.org or send us a message

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Basic Income is an OpenResearch project

We fund work that requires a very long time horizon, seeks to answer open-ended questions, or develops technology that shouldn’t be owned by any one company.

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