Hide table of contents

This framework outlines a potential approach to building a cost-effectiveness analysis for UBI, considering direct and indirect impacts. Before attempting to rigorously build a cost-effectiveness analysis for efforts to accelerate the implementation of unconditional UBI, I thought it would be wise to ask the community for considerations I may have overlooked.

Many of these considerations were sourced from Scott Santens, who has been collecting research on UBI for many years. Others were collected from a large repository of most cash transfer research.

Core Principles:

  • Unconditional and (optionally) untrackable: Basic income policies must be entirely unconditional. Unconditionality minimizes administrative costs and maximizes freedom. Preventing cash transfer policies from being corrupted is also very important because they could be powerful tools for social control & autocratic lock-in.
  • Strategy analysis: Multiple strategies could accelerate UBI. Direct lobbying needs to be compared against The Logical Foundation's strategy as laid out in this EA forum post: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/HYRfAGwNc6jzKkWt7/introducing-the-logical-foundation-an-ea-aligned-nonprofit

Areas of Analysis:

1. Positive Expected Impacts of UBI Programs:

  • Health: Physical and mental health improvements, measurable by QALYs and DALYs.
  • Mental Health: Improved mental well-being, less stress, more hope, less domestic violence. Victims of abuse gain more power to escape from abusers. Victims of exploitative employers gain the power to quit.
  • Nutrition: Increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, measured improved health outcomes. Healthier babies translate into large future impacts.
  • Crime reduction: Impact on crime rates, incarceration rates, and recidivism. Economic ramifications of reduced prison populations.
  • Education: Improved educational outcomes including graduation rates and college attendance.
  • Economic: Increased economic activity from spending multiplier effects.
  • Entrepreneurship: Significantly increased entrepreneurial activity and associated economic benefits.
  • Disaster relief: More efficient and effective disaster response due to increased population resilience.
  • Resource allocation: Savings from reduced reliance on legacy poverty service providers.

2. Wildcards for Impact Evaluation:

  • Domino effect: Acceleration of UBI adoption in other countries, potentially accelerating global poverty eradication.
  • Existential risks: Increased civilizational resilience through a financially secure population.
  • EA Ripple Effects: Potential for increased participation in EA work. Will approximate the impact of providing all people working on EA projects with money for their basic needs.

3. Strategy Analysis:

  • The Logical foundation: Evaluating the theoretical basis of the chosen strategy to accelerate the uncorrupted introduction of unconditional UBI.
  • Impact maximization: Assessing the strategy's ability to maximize impact through a basic income platform in developed countries.
  • Policy passage likelihood: Analyzing the strategy's likelihood of success in securing unconditional UBI policy passage.

4. Known or Possible Negative Impacts:

  • Industry disruption: Potential negative impact on the payday loan, short-term credit, and some nonprofit sectors.
  • Taxation: Marginal tax increases for the wealthy may cause potential decreases in charitable giving among other downsides.
  • Inflation: Unlikely due to increased supply and pilot program evidence.
  • Labor costs: Potential inflation of labor costs in undesirable industries, potentially offset by automation.
  • Negative social behaviors: Unsupported by existing evidence.

Additional Considerations:

  • Rigorously documented ripple effects: Account for the numerous indirect impacts of UBI.
  • Cost-effectiveness metrics: Define and measure relevant metrics for assessing progress towards implementing UBI.
  • Sensitivity analysis: Analyze the impact of different assumptions and uncertainties on the results.
  • Transparency and stakeholder engagement: Ensure transparency in methodology and data, and engage with stakeholders throughout the analysis process.

This framework provides a starting point for a comprehensive cost-effectiveness analysis of differing efforts to accelerate UBI. 

By considering both direct and indirect impacts, employing rigorous methodology, and engaging stakeholders, such an analysis could provide a strong basis of knowledge about the importance, tractability, and neglectedness of working toward UBI.

I wanted to post this to the forum to get some suggestions from the community. Have I missed any important potential ripple effects (positive or negative)?






More posts like this

Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since:

Executive summary: A proposed framework outlines key considerations for a cost-effectiveness analysis of unconditional basic income (UBI) advocacy efforts.

Key points:

  1. The analysis would assess positive impacts like health, economic activity, and social resilience along with potential negatives like industry disruption.
  2. Important additional factors are the "domino effect" of accelerating global UBI adoption and existential risk reduction.
  3. Comparing direct lobbying to indirect strategies and evaluating path to policy passage are also considered.
  4. Using rigorous data, metrics, stakeholder input, and documenting indirect effects will improve analysis quality.
  5. Community feedback is sought on any overlooked ripple effects or other considerations.



This comment was auto-generated by the EA Forum Team. Feel free to point out issues with this summary by replying to the comment, and contact us if you have feedback.

Curated and popular this week
Relevant opportunities