What is a Universal Basic Income?

Dan Hurt

February 6, 2023

Citizens Free Money

A universal basic income, or UBI, is a government policy that gives every citizen a regular sum of money. It’s been a hot topic in recent years because of fears that automation will eliminate jobs and leave millions of people without an income. However, the idea hasn’t been tested on a wide scale yet.


A universal basic income is a cash payment to all citizens without reference to their employment status or wealth. It is also known as a “minimum income guarantee.”

Experiments with unconditional cash benefits around the world have proven to reduce poverty and boost recipient well-being. People who receive a guaranteed cash payment are less likely to waste it, stop working, have more children, or go on drugs.

In Finland, a two-year universal basic income experiment was launched in 2016. It gave 2,000 unemployed citizens EUR 560 per month with no means test, and the study has now concluded that the payments have improved the recipients’ mental and financial well-being.


Finland has been a pioneer in the use of basic income, which has been proposed as a way to help people out of poverty. It’s also seen as a potential solution to the problems created by the rise of AI, which could take over many jobs.

A two-year basic income trial was launched in Finland in 2017 to see if it would work. Participants were given a monthly cash payment of 560 euros regardless of any other earnings they had or whether they were looking for work.

The 2,000 recipients who were part of the trial reported being happier and less stressed, and they were relieved of the ongoing paperwork involved with receiving unemployment benefits. This is one of a number of social experiments that are being carried out in Finland to try to find solutions for new challenges in society.


A universal basic income (UBI) is a regular cash payment every person receives, regardless of their other income or circumstances. Its proponents say it can help to reduce poverty, improve income security, and boost well-being.

In the largest UBI experiment to date, GiveDirectly is giving payments to 20,000 people in 245 villages in rural Kenya. These villagers are divided into three groups: the lump-sum arm gets US$500; the short-term arm receives $0.75 per day for two years; and the control group receives nothing.

The study is part of a larger randomized trial that began in 2017. The results will be important for the future of UBI implementation, but until there is more data on how it impacts people, it will remain an uncharted field.


A universal basic income (UBI) is a form of social security that would give every person a flat monthly payment to live on. Its goal is to reduce poverty and make life better in developing countries, as well as improve health and education.

It’s also a controversial policy for some, who believe it will discourage people from working. But a new study in Iran suggests this may be false.

Originally introduced in 2011, UBI has proven to be effective in reducing poverty and inequality in countries such as Iran. But critics worry it will discourage people from pursuing higher education or a better job, which is why the Iranian government made sure they only provided it to low-income citizens.


The idea of a universal basic income (UBI) is gaining momentum in academic and social debates. It is a policy that gives regular cash payments to every citizen, no matter how much money they make or have.

UBI is a controversial concept, but it has gained momentum among progressive politicians as a way to tackle poverty, social exclusion, and unemployment. It is also a popular idea among some economists and has been implemented in Finland, Norway, and Sweden.

The Catalan government will soon embark on a two-year trial of UBI in Barcelona and the surrounding region, involving some 5,000 local residents. The aim is to study its impact on social and economic systems and how it affects people’s lives.