© 2018

A Critical Analysis of Basic Income Experiments for Researchers, Policymakers, and Citizens

  • Critically discusses how to run and report the results of UBI experiments

  • Provides a concise, easy-to-read overview of UBI experiments that is accessible to policymakers, researchers, reporters and citizens

  • Shows how crucial it is for experiments to understand the public discussion of UBI and suggests how to present experimental findings in a way that avoids past problems with spin and sensationalism


Part of the Exploring the Basic Income Guarantee book series (BIG)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Karl Widerquist
    Pages 1-14
  3. Karl Widerquist
    Pages 19-25
  4. Karl Widerquist
    Pages 27-35
  5. Karl Widerquist
    Pages 37-42
  6. Karl Widerquist
    Pages 57-59
  7. Karl Widerquist
    Pages 93-98
  8. Karl Widerquist
    Pages 105-108
  9. Karl Widerquist
    Pages 141-144

About this book


At least six different Universal Basic Income (UBI) experiments are underway or planned right now in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Finland, and Kenya. Several more countries are considering conducting experiments. Yet, there seems to be more interest simply in having UBI experiments than in exactly what we want to learn from them. Although experiments can produce a lot of relevant data about UBI, they are crucially limited in their ability to enlighten our understanding of the big questions that bear on the discussion of whether to implement UBI as a national or regional policy. And, past experience shows that results of UBI experiments are particularly vulnerable misunderstanding, sensationalism, and spin. This book examines the difficulties of conducting a UBI experiment and reporting the results in ways that successfully improve public understanding of the probable effects of a national UBI. The book makes recommendations how researchers, reporters, citizens, and policymakers can avoid these problems and get the most out of UBI experiments.


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Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Georgetown University in QatarDohaQatar

About the authors

Karl Widerquist is Associate Professor at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar. He is an internationally recognized expert not only on Basic Income, which he has written about as an economist, philosopher, political theorist, and policy analyst, but also on Basic Income experiments. He has published several academic and non-academic articles on Basic Income experiments over the last 15 years and is the editor of the book series Exploring the Basic Income Guarantee (Palgrave Macmillan). He was a founding editor of the journal Basic Income Studies and co-chair of BIEN for seven years.

Bibliographic information

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“Widerquist’s book … arguments about the usefulness of experiments and about how they should be carried out, but it will be essential reading for anyone planning an experiment. It is an important contribution to the Citizen’s Basic Income literature.” (Citizen’s Income newsletter, Issue 2, 2019)