A new rapid evidence review of basic income pilot schemes, published by the International Public Policy Observatory (IPPO), has developed a new toolkit for policymakers by drawing on past experiences of governments in OECD countries.

The review, co-authored by Dr Joe Chrisp and Laura Smyth from the University of Bath Institute for Policy Research (IPR), is the first-of-its-kind, and examines basic income experiments across OECD countries from the 1970s to 2021.

The pandemic has led to a surge in interest in universal basic income (UBI) schemes. This year, the Welsh government plans to roll-out one of the most generous basic income pilot schemes ever trialled in the world for care leavers. However, in the past 40 years, 38 UBI schemes have been tested and to date none have ended with the implementation of a basic income.

The review found that the majority of UBI schemes were ‘bottom-up’ and not let by national governments; had a small number of participants and focused on low-income households; and nearly all were targeted and dispersed, rather than universal within saturated sites.

Drawing on past experiences, and using these findings, the authors and IPPO have developed an experimental design ‘toolkit’ for policymakers, detailing guidance on how to meet research, pilot, and political goals of future basic income schemes.

Co-author Dr Joe Chrisp explains:

"Our rapid evidence review gives a comprehensive and systemic mapping of UBI experiments in OECD countries. In comparing characteristics, key results, and policy outcomes we have determined a number of common themes to help formulate a toolkit for policymakers. Our hope is that this piece of research proves essential in the design and implementation of future basic income schemes.

Dr Rachel France, Research Fellow at the IPPO, adds:

"As far as we are aware, this is the first time that systematic review techniques have been used to examine experiments that are both completed and currently underway, and we were pleased to support the team from IPR in producing this ground-breaking piece of work."

About the IPPO

The International Public Policy Observatory (IPPO) aims to mobilise and assess evidence from different geographical and institutional contexts to inform policymakers throughout the United Kingdom about the best ways to mitigate social harms associated with COVID-19. Its overall ambition is to contribute to better policymaking and thereby to the wellbeing of UK citizens. IPPO is a collaboration between UCL, Cardiff University, Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Glasgow, the University of Auckland and the University of Oxford, together with think-tanks including the International Network for Government Science (INGSA) and academic news publisher The Conversation.

About the IPR

The Institute for Policy Research (IPR) is a leading public policy research institute based at the University of Bath. We aim to further the public good through research into issues of significant relevance to policy debate and decision-making, build links with the worlds of policy and practice, and increase public understanding of policy research through our public events and publications. We also deliver activities for policymakers, researchers and practitioners to enable dual learning and original contributions to both research and practice.