Basic Income Health

Who we are

A multidisciplinary team working to understand how welfare systems affect health and whether Basic Income could address the problems in existing systems. Read more…

What we do

Research: We examine the impact of existing systems and what the prospective benefits of Basic Income might be.

Policy: We develop evidence-based policy proposals that address key modern challenges and achieve popular support.

Engagement and impactWe create outputs and engage with partners to translate research to real-world goals.

What is Basic Income?

Basic Income is a system of regular, secure, predictable payments to all individuals. Unlike most existing welfare systems, it is not ‘means-tested’ (dependent on low income), based on additional needs (such as those related to being disabled), or dependent on particular behaviour (such as being unemployed and looking for work). While there may be a small number of situations where payments could be withdrawn, for example due to serious criminal behaviour, for the overwhelming majority it would be unconditional and paid forever.

How could Basic Income affect health?

Income affects health through a number of pathways based on its different aspects. Our model of impact suggests that Basic Income can affect health through three main pathways.

Addressing poverty: which increases people’s ability to satisfy their basic needs, for example helping them to afford better food and housing.

Reducing income inequality: also giving people the option to leave abusive, damaging environments. This would reduce stress and related illnesses.

Providing a predictable and secure future: increasing people’s perception of their lifespan and making it worthwhile for them to invest in healthy behaviours.

Basic Income model of impact

Flow chart showing pathways to health impact from Basic Income as an upstream intervention through high level and individual social determinants, direct and public health impacts, social and economic impacts and any fiscal reforms needed to achieve cost neutrality.
Click to enlarge

What are the big questions?

How can Basic Income be designed for health impact?

How can we best evaluate the impact of Basic Income?

Is Basic Income for health impact affordable?

Is Basic Income politically viable? 

Publications

Our team has published a number of academic articles as well as public reports to explain our findings. A full list is available here.

You can find our latest report, ‘Treating causes not symptoms: Basic Income as a public health measure’, on Compass’ website here.

TriplePC: Public Policy Preference Calculator

Our TriplePC (Public Policy Preference Calculator) lets you design your own welfare policy, see some of its economic and health effects, and understand whether the public would prefer it over other options.

The TriplePC is being developed further but is available here.

You can also read more about it here.