The Bath UBI Beacon consolidates and expands the critical mass of the university’s research and expertise around unconditional basic income (UBI) and its intersections with vital contemporary public policy challenges. Our work will foster new, impactful collaborations across university departments, disciplines, and teams, as well as with external partners.
Global interest in UBI is rising at a rapid rate. UBI was once viewed as a simplistic, niche idea particular to radical philosophers and economists. However it is now approached by scholars from across disciplinary backgrounds and policymakers from varied spheres of policymaking as a potentially transformative public policy with capacity for intersectional impacts and address multiple overlapping social challenges. In Wales, UBI is being piloted for care leavers; in the US, trials focus on poverty, homelessness, gender-based violence, and racial inequality; and in Europe, scholarly attention looks at UBI through the lens of welfare reform, technological change, and degrowth.
Our existing expertise in UBI, welfare reform, social protection, and policy piloting, aligns with multiple UKRI strategic challenges. Our research supports at least three thematic frontiers in UBI-related scholarship, which map onto those challenges and can be developed through Beacon support. These are:
- UBI and Public Health: Theorising and measuring the health, wellbeing and public finance impacts of UBI as an upstream public health intervention
- UBI and Climate Change: Assessing the potential for UBI and related policies to contribute to just transitions and evaluating their capacity to enhance climate resilience
- UBI, Technological Change and the Future of Work: Exploring the implications of technological change for labour markets and the future of social security; and the impact of UBI on labour relations and the alternative work futures it might make possible