German researchers will test whether universal basic income could work by handing out around $1,400 per month to a group of people for three years.
The German Institute for Economic Research experiment will involve 1,500 people randomly selected throughout the country, though only 120 will receive the cash payments, the Times of London reported.
Funded by about 140,000 private donors, the pilot program will give out the equivalent of $1,430 a month, putting the participants just above the poverty line.
The entire group will fill out regular surveys about their lives to gauge how their attitudes and behaviors change, the outlet reported.
“So far the debate has resembled a philosophical salon at best, and a religious war at worst,” Jurgen Schupp, who will lead the study, told German outlet Der Spiegel, according to the Times.
“On both sides, it is characterized by clichés: critics claim a basic income would make people stop working and lie on the couch with fast food and streaming services. Supporters say people would carry on with meaningful work, become more creative and pro-social, and rescue democracy.”
So far, 90 percent of the participants said they will continue working despite the new cash flow, the report said.
One of the participants has said she will use the payments for her own entrepreneurial pursuits instead of joining her family’s hotel business, the outlet reported.
“I’ve asked myself: ‘What am I spending my time and my money on? Am I doing this because I have to, or because I want to? What can I achieve with it?’” she said.
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