It’s one of the biggest experiments in fighting global poverty. Now the results are in

The initial results from an experiment providing a Universal Basic Income (UBI) in Kenya by the U.S.-based charity, GiveDirectly, have been released, offering insight into the effectiveness of this approach in tackling global poverty.

The experiment overview: The charity has been distributing a UBI, approximately $50 per month, to thousands of Kenyan villagers since 2017, committing to a 12-year payment plan.
* The initial results are based on the first two years, comparing around 5,000 recipients with a control group of nearly 12,000 who received no funds.
* The researchers also observed two more groups: nearly 9,000 who received the income for only two years, and another group of roughly 9,000 who received the same amount but in a one-off lump sum.

Key findings: Lump-sum payments showed considerable advantages in terms of generating income.
* Regardless of payment method, all beneficiaries were better off than the control group in terms of protein consumption and spending on education, signs of wellbeing.
* However, lump-sum recipients exhibited remarkable entrepreneurial activity, with 19% more businesses started and an 80% increase in revenues, compared to those receiving the income in monthly installments.

The universal distribution factor: Providing aid to every adult in a community enhanced the initiative’s impact.
* The influx of cash did not cause inflation, perhaps due to the variety of items purchased with the additional income.
* Universal distribution appeared to boost the creation of businesses, as new potential customers among the beneficiaries emerged in the community.

The big question: The sustainability of effects seen from lump-sum payments.
* The study will continue to assess if the increased incomes and businesses created by lump-sum recipients are enduring and sufficient to alleviate poverty in the long run.
View original article on NPR
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