Advocates for a Universal Basic Income (UBI) argue that it would provide citizens with a basic foundation for financial security, boost the economy, alleviate poverty, encourage entrepreneurship, reduce crime, and insulate the employment sector against job losses due to automation. Still, the idea lags in popularity in the United States compared to existing cash policies such as the annual Earned Income Tax Credit and one-time COVID-19 relief packages. We hypothesize that this disparity is related to predicted uses of a UBI in comparison to annual or lump sum cash programs. In this survey of 836 Americans, we explore whether predicted behavioral responses to four randomly assigned hypothetical cash transfer scenarios vary across the domains of amount and frequency. Respondents are more likely to associate monthly payments with work disincentives and lump-sum transfers with debt repayment. Implications for UBI advocates include the need to continue educating the public on the empirical associations between UBI, employment, and expenditures.
Hamilton, L., Despard, M., Roll, S., Bellisle, D., Hall, C., & Wright, A. (2023). Does Frequency or Amount Matter? An Exploratory Analysis the Perceptions of Four Universal Basic Income Proposals. Social Sciences, 12(3), Article 3. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12030133