Universal Basic Income: A Dynamic Assessment

58 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2020

See all articles by Diego Daruich

Diego Daruich

New York University (NYU) - Department of Economics

Raquel Fernández

New York University - Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Date Written: June 2020

Abstract

The idea of universal basic income (UBI)---a set income that is given to all without any conditions---is making an important comeback but there is no real evidence regarding its long-term consequences. This paper provides a very inexpensive evaluation of such a policy by studying its dynamic consequences in a general equilibrium model with imperfect capital markets and labor market shocks, in which households make decisions about education, savings, labor supply, and with intergenerational linkages via skill formation. The steady state of the model is estimated to match US household data. We find that a UBI policy that gives all households a yearly income equivalent to the poverty line level has very different welfare implications for those alive when the policy is introduced relative to future generations. While a majority of adults (primarily older non-college workers) would vote in favor of introducing UBI, all future generations (operating behind the veil of ignorance) would prefer to live in an economy without UBI. The expense of the latter leads to lower skill formation and education, requiring even higher tax rates over time. Modeling automation as an increased probability of being hit by an ``out-of-work'' shock, the model is also used to provide insights on how the benefits of UBI change as the environment becomes riskier. The results suggest that UBI may be a useful transitional policy to help current individuals whose skills are more likely to become obsolete and are unprepared for the increased risk, while, simultaneously, education policies may be implemented to increase the likelihood that future cohorts remain productive and employed.

Keywords: Human Capital, Labor Supply, taxation, universal basic income

JEL Classification: H24, H31, I38, J24

Suggested Citation

Daruich, Diego and Fernández, Raquel, Universal Basic Income: A Dynamic Assessment (June 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP14869, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3628190

Diego Daruich (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Department of Economics ( email )

269 Mercer Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10011
United States

Raquel Fernández

New York University - Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics ( email )

269 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10003
United States
212-998-8908 (Phone)
212-995-4186 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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