Georgetown Announces Launch of New Publication on Universal Basic Income

Press release
Published April 8th, 2019 - 06:06 GMT
Associate Professor Karl Widerquist
Associate Professor Karl Widerquist

Georgetown University in Qatar announces an upcoming Book Launch event for Associate Professor Karl Widerquist’s book, A Critical Analysis of Basic Income Experiments for Researchers, Policymakers, and Citizens on April 9, 2019.

Widerquist’s new book explores ongoing research into the concept of a Universal Basic Income (UBI), a guaranteed fixed income provided by the government for every citizen. The idea is gaining support as an economic policy for the future, and while ongoing field tests and experiments have explored the idea, the effectiveness of those experiments remains in question.

 

“There is a common but naive belief that UBI experiments are capable of determining whether UBI makes sense. Social science experiments can produce useful information, but they cannot answer the big questions that most interest policymakers and voters, such as does UBI work, or should we introduce it," writes Dr. Widerquist, an internationally recognized expert not only on Basic Income in general, which he has written about as an economist, philosopher, political theorist, and policy analyst, but also on Basic Income experiments in particular. 

"Researchers often do not understand what citizens and policymakers expect from research, while citizens and policymakers often do not understand the inherent difficulties of policy research or the difference between what research shows and what they want to know."

 

According to Widerquist, “Very few of the things we want to know about UBI are testable in an experiment. Of the things we can test, we can only test them incompletely or indirectly, and the results are highly vulnerable to spin and misunderstanding.” This doesn’t mean that we should give up on experiments, he explains, but that researchers have to take great care to do them well and communicate the results in ways that citizens, journalists, and policymakers can understand. 

Widerquist’s careful treatment of the subject sheds light on how to conduct and report on UBI experiments to avoid these potential pitfalls and maximize the possibility that an experiment will successfully improve public understanding of what is likely to happen if a national UBI policy is instituted.

 

Dr. Karl Widerquist has published both academic and non-academic articles on Basic Income experiments over the last 15 years and is currently the editor of the book series Exploring the Basic Income Guarantee (Palgrave Macmillan).

The book launch will begin at 5:30pm at the university’s bookstore on their Education City campus. To register, please visit RSVP: https://www.qatar.georgetown.edu/IncomeExperiments

Background Information

Georgetown University in Qatar

Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) is an additional location of Georgetown University, based in Education City in Doha. The University offers a four year undergraduate program in international affairs leading to the Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service (BSFS) degree. Students have the opportunity to select one of four majors, a minor, and one of three certificates.

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