Designing trials of Universal Basic Income for health impact: identifying interdisciplinary questions to address

Matthew Johnson, Elliott Johnson, Daniel Nettle, Kate Pickett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Background
A large body of evidence indicates the importance of upstream determinants to health. Universal Basic Income (UBI) has been suggested as an upstream intervention capable of promoting health by affecting material, biopsychosocial and behavioural determinants. Calls are emerging across the political spectrum to introduce an emergency UBI to address socioeconomic insecurity. However, although existing studies indicate effects on health through cash transfers, UBI schemes have not previously been designed specifically to promote health.

Methods
In this article, we scope the existing literature to set out a set of interdisciplinary research challenges to address in designing a trial of the effectiveness of UBI as a population health measure.

Results
We present a theoretical model of impact that identifies three pathways to health impact, before identifying open questions related to regularity, size of payment, needs-based supplements, personality and behaviour, conditionality and duration.

Conclusions
These results set, for the first time, a set of research activities required in order to maximize health impact in UBI programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408–416
JournalJournal of Public Health
Volume44
Issue number2
Early online date14 Jan 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes

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