Charity Science have long been supporters of GiveDirectly and their use of unconditional cash transfers (UCTs) as a highly effective charitable cause. It’s not surprising that charity evaluator GiveWell lists them as one of the best charities in the world and hugely impactful at alleviating extreme poverty.
But what they’re up to now is truly exciting. GiveDirectly plans to conduct critical research into universal basic income. In other words, they’re looking to give everyone access to a sustainable life, regardless of nationality or socio-economic status.
In their own words:
A basic income guarantee is a public policy that would provide all people a basic floor—an income that is enough to live on and that is provided irrespective of work simply because the recipient is a member of that community. It is provided to everyone, regardless of need, forever.
Through their evidence-backed UCTs, GiveDirectly has already proven wrong cynics who claim that “you can’t just give poor people money.” With their new experiment, GiveDirectly will likely be strengthening this body of evidence.
As it turns out, that assumption [that the poor aren’t good at making decisions for themselves] was wrong. Across many contexts and continents, experimental tests show that the poor don’t stop trying when they are given money, and they don’t get drunk. Instead, they make productive use of the funds, feeding their families, sending their children to school, and investing in businesses and their own futures. Even a short-term infusion of capital has been shown to significantly improve long-term living standards, improve psychological well-being, and even add one year of life.
GiveDirectly is putting up $10 million (USD) of their own money to match external funding they can receive for this experiment.
We think the rigorous evaluation will cost roughly $30 million, of which around 90 percent of the funds will go directly to extremely poor households with the rest spent delivering that money to them (e.g., staff, office, payment fees).
We hope you’ll join us in supporting this amazing project. With any luck, the findings of this research could be a game-changer in our fight against global poverty.
Read more about the project in this Slate article or read an overview of the project. You can also directly support this initiative.
You also might be interested in our operations blog that details: our month to month organizational progress, the more technical ideas we have, and our board meeting minutes