Louisa Tavlas
Director of Communications
The Niskanen Center
Cell phone: 571-527-6403

WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 8, 2016. The Niskanen Center has joined a coalition that will, for the first time, comprehensively explore the merits of a Universal Basic Income (UBI).

The coalition, The Economic Security Project (ESP), announced today that it will be committing $10 million over the next two years “to explore how a ‘basic income’ could…ensure economic opportunity for all” in the United States. More than 100 people, including Sam Altman, the president of Y Combinator, a leading Silicon Valley startup incubator, and Andy Stern, the former president of the Service Employees International Union, signed the group’s “statement of belief” saying it aims to “make our economy work again for all Americans.”

“The Niskanen Center believes in the immense humanitarian advantages of a dynamic, open market order. However, market dynamism by its nature disrupts the status quo and dislocates workers,” says Will Wilkinson, the Niskanen Center’s vice president for policy. “When people don’t have a buffer against creative destruction, we run the risk that they will turn to leaders who make big promises but whose economic policies in fact threaten economic freedom, innovation, growth, and well-being. We see a UBI as a promising way to sustain and promote broad-based prosperity by protecting people against the downside risks of market disruption.”

The Niskanen Center joins the Center for Popular Democracy, the Roosevelt Institute, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and GiveDirectly as initial members of the project exploring basic income policy. Niskanen’s immediate research efforts, led by welfare and poverty analyst Samuel Hammond, will lay out and critically analyze the range of options for structuring and implementing a basic income program in the United States.

The Niskanen Center is a libertarian 501(c)(3) advocacy organization established in 2014 that works to change public policy through direct engagement in the policymaking process.