Keep On Working: Unconditional Basic Income in the Lab

Stefan Haigner 1 , Wolfgang Höchtl 2 , Friedrich Georg Schneider 3 , Florian Wakolbinger 4  and Stefan Jenewein 5
  • 1 University of Innsbruck,Department of Economics, Universitätsstraße 15/3, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
  • 2 Austrian National Bank, Banking Inspection Division, Otto-Wagner Platz 3, 1090 Vienna, Austria
  • 3 Johannes Kepler University, Linz, Department of Economics (Economic Policy), Altenbergerstrasse 69, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
  • 4 Johannes Kepler University, Linz, Department of Economics (Public Economics), Altenbergerstrasse 69, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
  • 5 University of Innsbruck, Department of Economics, Universitätsstraße 15/3, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

Abstract

Our real-effort laboratory experiment compares an unconditional basic income (UBI) scheme with conventional systems with and without redistribution, respectively. Participants chose between three options: working for themselves, working for the group, or enjoying leisure. Neither the choice of options nor that of work efforts is sensitive to the transfer scheme even though UBI constitutes a natural reference point for participants’ earnings in our experiment. However, UBI significantly reduced income dispersion at only a small cost in terms of forgone production and budget deficit.

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Basic Income Studies (BIS) is the first academic journal to focus specifically on basic income and cognate policies and publishes peer-reviewed research papers, book reviews, and short accessible commentaries that discuss a central aspect of the debate on basic income and related schemes.

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