The Epistemology and Political Philosophy of Basic Income Experiments

Open Panel

Basic income has become a major feature of the policy debate in both mature welfare states - Europe, Canada and the US - and several developing countries. In contrast to a mere decade ago, mainstream policy-makers and stakeholders are regarding UBI as a key policy instrument in reforming social protection for the coming decades.

In recent years much of the UBI debate has focused on piloting UBI experiments: India has recently completed an experiment (and may decide to conduct a follow-up study), while similar schemes are being piloted in Finland, Kenya and Uganda since January 2017. Moreover, UBI experiments are being designed or seriously considered in countries as diverse as Canada, the Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, France, to name the most advanced policy discussions.

We welcome paper proposals examining philosophical and practical considerations related to this recent evolution towards increased evidence-based policy-making and, specifically, in relation with the role of pilots and experiments in relation to the UBI idea. These considerations pertain mainly to the nature of the questions UBI experiments are meant to answer, the social epistemology of UBI experiments under conditions of epistemic uncertainty and policy disagreement, the epistemic status of evidence derived from UBI experiments in evidence-based policy-making, and the relation between experimental evidence and political theories offering a justification for adopting UBI policy.