Universal Basic Income research position

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JL13
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Universal Basic Income research position

Post by JL13 » Tue Feb 09, 2016 12:49 pm

https://jobs.lever.co/ycr/a8dad62d-306b ... f771359608

Y Combincator is funding a research project to give a group of people a universal basic income for five years. I'd be fascinated to read about it but curious about their approach. This isn't an A-B test, we can't really to a control group I mean. What would we be researching?

-Reduction in self-reported stress level?
-Change in leisure time (and what they did with it)?
-Improvement in grades (parents had more time to spend with them?)
-Change in Shopping habits, eating habits?

If you had this job, what would you want to study? How would you structure it?

*Edit: wrote 5 people before
Last edited by JL13 on Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Ego
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Re: Universal Basic Income research position

Post by Ego » Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:09 pm

-Sleep quality changes
-Brain gray matter changes
-Neurological tests
-Social/community connectedness measurement (hard to measure)
-Life purpose or meaning measurement (Frankl Questionnaire or Purpose in Life Test pdf)

JL13
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Re: Universal Basic Income research position

Post by JL13 » Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:15 pm

Gray matter changes? What would be the driver?

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Chad
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Re: Universal Basic Income research position

Post by Chad » Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:17 pm

I would definitely add in other health measurements:
- Blood markers
- Blood pressure
- Telomere measurement
- Fitness tests

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Ego
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Re: Universal Basic Income research position

Post by Ego » Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:50 pm

JL13 wrote:Gray matter changes? What would be the driver?
There is plenty of research on the influence of chronic stress on gray matter. What about the opposite? Is there a point of too little stress? After all, we evolved to cope with fairly high stress levels in nature.

Your Brain on Retirement
In a cross-sectional analysis of cognitive function among older men in the United States, England, and 11 other European countries, Susann Rohwedder and Robert J. Willis found that nations with an earlier retirement age saw the most rapid declines in fluid intelligence.

The relative performance difference between men in their 60s and those in their 50s was about twice as great in countries with an early retirement age. In other words, performance on the test nosedived for men who retired earlier. In general, retirement was associated with a memory score nearly five points lower (on a 20-point scale) than remaining at work, representing nearly 1.5 times the standard deviation for the sample as a whole.
I understand that the people receiving a universal basic income are not retiring. But the UBI does eliminate some of the stress involved in having no choice but to be productive. I wonder how much of that stress is bad and how much is good.

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Re: Universal Basic Income research position

Post by jacob » Tue Feb 09, 2016 2:03 pm

Giving a basic income to 5 people who are talented and driven!?

I believe this is called ... a grad school stipend. It is currently practised at most 4 year universities with far larger larger sample sizes albeit mostly using immigrant test subjects because few natives are willing to accept $23k/year when they can get an industry job that expects less than half the hours while paying three times as much.

Statistically, it will almost impossible to conclude much of anything quantitatively based on a sample size of five.

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Re: Universal Basic Income research position

Post by ether » Tue Feb 09, 2016 2:24 pm

I agree with Jacob

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Re: Universal Basic Income research position

Post by henrik » Tue Feb 09, 2016 2:37 pm

Where do you guys get the 5 people assumption? The job ad mentions giving "a basic income to a group of people for a 5 year period", there is no mention of the size of the group. The specifics of the study including, I assume, the existence of some sort of control mechanism, is left to the study designer they're looking for.

The part that makes me suspicious is this: "a combination of selecting people at random, and selecting people who are driven and talented but come from poor backgrounds." Making a selection based on who's "driven" runs the risk of turning it into a beauty contest rather than a study.

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Re: Universal Basic Income research position

Post by JL13 » Tue Feb 09, 2016 2:41 pm

The proposal is totally silent on what the goal/hypothesis is.

Maybe it'll be more of a promotion piece. "look how a UBI changed these people's lives!"

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Re: Universal Basic Income research position

Post by henrik » Tue Feb 09, 2016 2:46 pm

To answer the OP, I would make sure to not make the assumption that everyone will just quit their jobs and live stress free. I'd want to know how many will quit vs how many will continue and just bank the extra income; how many will change fields or go into education; how long does it take them to adjust to the lack of essential financial pressure etc. In short, how will having their essential needs met change people's motivations in real life?

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Re: Universal Basic Income research position

Post by Chad » Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:04 pm

Just because it is not statistically relevant does not mean it can't produce something interesting. You just won't be able to be overly certain it extrapolates to a larger population.

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GandK
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Re: Universal Basic Income research position

Post by GandK » Tue Feb 09, 2016 5:52 pm

Another thread on this general topic: Switzerland and Guaranteed Income--Would it work here?

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Re: Universal Basic Income research position

Post by jacob » Tue Feb 09, 2016 6:24 pm

Also compare to the Thiel Fellowship which has been backed by actual money for a while.

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FBeyer
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Re: Universal Basic Income research position

Post by FBeyer » Wed Feb 10, 2016 7:57 am

JL13 wrote:https://jobs.lever.co/ycr/a8dad62d-306b ... f771359608

Y Combincator is funding a research project to give 5 people... How would you structure it?
I would start by finding more money, to fund more people, to increase the power of any statistical tests.
I would also be aware that you might not actually be able to test more than one thing to avoid accusations of p-hacking...

It's sounds like a political propaganda experiment, rather than an actual scientific one.


Obligatory: https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index. ... ignificant


Edit: aaaah here we go. No mention of sample size. Still; look out for dubious findings.

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Re: Universal Basic Income research position

Post by jacob » Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:09 am

@FBeyer - Thanks, I learned a new word today. I always knew p-hacking informally as model-mining (cf. data-mining).

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Re: Universal Basic Income research position

Post by skintstudent » Wed Feb 10, 2016 1:36 pm

None of the aforementioned are equivalent to a universal basic income(UBI). They are all just a temporary boost to finances in order to allow people to fund something more easily. There is probably a far better group to study if you want to investigate the effects of a UBI - those who have ERE'd. Both the 'E's are important. One downside of using this group is the self-selection bias, but at least it provides subjects who should have guaranteed basic incomes for life.

I propose that there is no way you can study the effects of an UBI by giving a few people only a temporary income boost. If UBI were implemented would demand for labour rise and competition for it fall? The potential society wide psychological effects could be far more significant than freeing a few from the need to work for a while, even to those few individuals.

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Re: Universal Basic Income research position

Post by jennypenny » Wed Feb 10, 2016 6:42 pm

"We’d be especially interested in a combination of selecting people at random, and selecting people who are driven and talented but come from poor backgrounds."

I thought the idea behind a UBI was to support people who didn't have the other resources to sustain themselves financially. Why give it to people who are "driven" as they say? Maybe I just don't understand the purpose of a UBI. I know how people here would benefit, but otherwise I thought the point was to keep people off of permanent assistance.

Regarding the research, I would want to know if people's thought processes were changed. We talk about how 'rich' people think differently. I wonder if having a guaranteed income would make people think more like rich people, if that makes sense. I would also want to know how it affected their relationships, since money is a factor in many divorces. I would support a UBI if it helped to keep families intact.

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Re: Universal Basic Income research position

Post by subgard » Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:06 pm

skintstudent wrote:
I propose that there is no way you can study the effects of an UBI by giving a few people only a temporary income boost.
They should buy each test subject an inflation adjusted annuity that can't be sold. It would make the study very longitudinal (also, much more expensive).

That would better answer the question of "What would people do if they knew they would always have a financial safety net?"

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Re: Universal Basic Income research position

Post by Toska2 » Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:27 pm

What's the basis of "driven"? Is direction, depth, breadth or profitability have anything to do with it? In San Fransisco I met and excellent musician who could play many instruments. He was, however, a street performer. He seemed to enjoy himself and earned " enough".

I agree that this is a stunt. I'll rewatch Trading Places instead.

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Re: Universal Basic Income research position

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Feb 11, 2016 7:12 pm

This is y combinator, and Paul has written several times of how grad school is an ideal life, if it weren't for the dissertation. I imagine his goal is to recreate that.
It seems that the link is to a position to design/manage the study, rather than to participate.
Felix was a proponent of the BI concept, I against, but I will watch to see the results.

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Re: Universal Basic Income research position

Post by jacob » Thu Feb 11, 2016 7:46 pm

Riggerjack wrote:Paul has written several times of how grad school is an ideal life, if it weren't for the dissertation.
LOL. I think it depends. I like to define grad school the following way:

Year 1) Confusion/Clueless.
Year 2) Desperation/Despair.
Year 3) Hope/Potential.
Year 4) Productivity.

I've known talented individuals, as judged by their ability to get perfect grades in undergrad, who didn't make it through the second year because they lacked "frustration tolerance". Year four is definitely the best year!(*) of grad school. Year five (to nine )is post doc at which point you're getting into sales, that is, selling some proposition that's only really interesting to five other people in the world. I failed at that because due to the Peter Principle.

(*) This is why the best approach is to get your PhD and then leave for industry. See Disciplined Minds.

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Re: Universal Basic Income research position

Post by jacob » Mon Jan 02, 2017 3:52 pm

Finland is starting an experiment given $590/month to 2000 jobless Finns for two years. No constraints.

http://www.businessinsider.com/finland- ... nt-2016-12
http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall ... or-people/

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Re: Universal Basic Income research position

Post by Riggerjack » Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:04 am

Yeah, I think they are right. BI works well in 3rd world countries. I think it could work here as well, but it would be slower, like generations slower. Poverty in America is cultural, and you can't fix that with money.

You can fix it with enough success, but there will always be someone unable or unwilling to compete.

I just don't see this gaining traction in my lifetime, there are too many interests served by the existing CF of social services.

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Chad
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Re: Universal Basic Income research position

Post by Chad » Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:11 am

Riggerjack wrote:Poverty in America is cultural, and you can't fix that with money.
Not to hijack the thread, but I'm curious about your definition of this.

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Re: Universal Basic Income research position

Post by Dragline » Tue Jan 03, 2017 10:18 am

Funny, I saw an interview of Jamie Dimon (JP Morgan) recently where he suggested this as an option in the form of a "negative income tax".

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