Another Marketplace report on UBI: On the Canadian prairie, a basic income experiment
Sarah Gardner wrote:Forty years ago, in Manitoba, the Canadians conducted a five-year experiment in the little prairie town of Dauphin. The results, which didn’t come to light until fairly recently, suggest the safety net could carry social benefits that save money long term.
The experiment was called Mincome, for “minimum income.” The impetus came from Canada’s political Left, under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and Manitoba Premier Edward Schreyer. Evelyn Forget, an economist at the University of Manitoba who has studied the Mincome data, said the experiment was widely known in social science circles, but most Canadians weren't aware of it.
When the Mincome study ended, a new conservative government was in power. It had little interest in funding an analysis of its predecessor’s project. “The researchers were told to archive the data for future analysis,” said Evelyn Forget. “And as far as I can tell that meant empty the filing cabinets into cardboard boxes and lock the door on the way out.”
Those boxes, full of mimeographed surveys and handwritten assessments, sat in a government warehouse for decades, largely forgotten. Around 2008, Forget discovered them and has been analyzing the results since.
The initial results are striking: the vast majority of Mincome participants kept working.
Primary wage earners worked a little less, but only slightly.
Married women backed off too, but mostly to take longer maternity leaves.
There was a drop in work by teenage boys, but Forget says many simply were able to stay in high school longer. Their families weren’t as desperate for another breadwinner.
That...seems like kind of a big deal. I hope people keep talking about this.