What is Universal Basic Income?
In the mid-nineteen-seventies, the Canadian province of Manitoba ran an unusual experiment: it started just handing out money to some of its citizens. The town of Dauphin, for instance, sent checks to thousands of residents every month, in order to guarantee that all of them received a basic income. The goal of the project, called Mincome, was to see what happened. Did people stop working? Did poor people spend foolishly and stay in poverty? But, after a Conservative government ended the project, in 1979, Mincome was buried. ecades later, Evelyn Forget, an economist at the University of Manitoba, dug up the numbers. nd what she found was that life in Dauphin improved markedly. Hospitalization rates fell. ore teen-agers stayed in school. And researchers who looked at Mincome’s impact on work rates discovered that they had barely dropped at all. The program had worked about as well as anyone could have hoped.