How would our lives change if we’d get 1200 Euro every month as a present, without having to work? This is the goal of the first long term scientific study announced on Tuesday in Germany. Scientists will try to find out people’s behavior when they receive money constantly, no strings attached. Will they stay all day long in front of the TV? Or will they become creative?
“Basic Income Pilot Project” is financed by 140.000 private donors. During three years, 120 people will receive 1200 Euro every month. Their behavior will be analyzed in comparison to another group of 1380 “statistical-twins” which will not receive any payments.
“We have a goal of one million applicants by November. From this large population, 20,000 people are randomly selected and interviewed extensively about their living situation. Based on this data, we can select 1500 participants: 120 receive the basic income, 1380 others do not receive it, forming the comparison group. We are the first to examine the basic income in this way and at this level”, explained Jürgen Schupp, a researcher at DIW (the German Institute for Economic Research), in an interview for Spiegel.de.
Unconditional basic income is not a new idea, there were similar studies in Finland and Germany. This new survey is an initiative of “Mein Grundeinkommen” association, known for conducting a related experiment. With help from private donors, the association paid 1000 Euro monthly to selected people for one year, supporting the idea of a basic income for everyone.
“Basic Income Pilot Project” is different because the association brought an impressive team of scientists aboard, including psychologists, behavioral economists, and public welfare researchers.
“Researching happiness proved that more money increases well-being. But we want to find out a lot more: to what extent does such a reliable, unconditional flow of money affect people’s attitudes and behavior – in relevant areas of life? How do, for example, professional life, daily structure, commitment, diet, or relationships change? And how does that differ depending on age, area of residence, other income, and so on? That’s a lot of exciting and so far unanswered questions”, said Jürgen Schupp.