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Designing trials of Universal Basic Income for health impact: identifying interdisciplinary questions to address

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Daniel Nettle


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© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Faculty of Public Health. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: BACKGROUND: A large body of evidence indicates the importance of upstream determinants to health. Universal Basic Income (UBI) has been suggested as an upstream intervention capable of promoting health by affecting material, biopsychosocial and behavioural determinants. Calls are emerging across the political spectrum to introduce an emergency UBI to address socioeconomic insecurity. However, although existing studies indicate effects on health through cash transfers, UBI schemes have not previously been designed specifically to promote health. METHODS: In this article, we scope the existing literature to set out a set of interdisciplinary research challenges to address in designing a trial of the effectiveness of UBI as a population health measure. RESULTS: We present a theoretical model of impact that identifies three pathways to health impact, before identifying open questions related to regularity, size of payment, needs-based supplements, personality and behaviour, conditionality and duration. CONCLUSIONS: These results set, for the first time, a set of research activities required in order to maximize health impact in UBI programmes.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Johnson MT, Johnson EA, Nettle D, Pickett KE

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Public Health

Year: 2022

Volume: 44

Issue: 2

Pages: 408-416

Print publication date: 01/06/2022

Online publication date: 14/01/2021

Acceptance date: 11/12/2020

ISSN (print): 1741-3842

ISSN (electronic): 1741-3850

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/pubmed/fdaa255

PubMed id: 33445181


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