From Idea to Reality: Getting to Guaranteed Income

New York, NY, July 9, 2020 — A new series produced by researchers at the Jain Family Institute provides policymakers with best practices for implementing a guaranteed income in the United States using evidence from cash transfer programs around the world.

The first white paper, published today, provides a detailed look at targeting and distribution strategies and challenges, with recommendations for a long-term cash disbursement mechanism. An improved disbursement mechanism would fill the hole exposed in our existing national infrastructure by the halting and often ineffective roll-out of the CARES Act’s stimulus checks. As lawmakers at all levels of government continue to grapple with the challenges of extending continued governmental support to vulnerable Americans, JFI’s series provides vital guidance on what must be decided and improved to bring a national guaranteed income closer to reality.

Key features of the first paper in this series:

  • Practical challenges of tax-based cash transfer systems
  • Models for inclusive direct benefit transfers, including examples of prepaid debit cards, digital currency options, and postal banking
  • Systems for targeting and processing tens of millions of payments, monthly if necessary, without intermediary delays, with suggested government infrastructures capable of implementation
  • Takeaways from international cash transfer programs

The series draws on the expertise of multiple academics and advocates for effective cash transfer and social policy, and builds on JFI’s research and advisory work on the Stockton SEED pilot, the Chicago Resilient Families Task Force, and Newark’s Guaranteed Income Task Force, as well as our large-scale applied research on basic income policy in Brazil and elsewhere. The first paper is authored by Sidhya Balakrishnan, JFI Director of Research, Sara Constantino, JFI Fellow and postgraduate researcher at Princeton University, and Stephen Nuñez, JFI Lead Researcher on Guaranteed Income. Other experts are anticipated to collaborate on future papers in the series….continue reading the full press release here.

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