The Effects of a Universal Basic Income in Kenya
In 2017, IPA launched a randomized controlled trial in Kenya to test the effectiveness of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) in eradicating extreme poverty. Participants in the study treatment groups have been receiving regular digital cash transfers for over two years and will continue to receive these transfers over the next several months. This provides a unique opportunity to study how digital cash transfers can help during a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Against the backdrop of this pandemic, we are conducting three rounds of phone surveys to (a) track the prevalence of COVID-19 and its collateral effects (e.g. social distancing requirements) in treatment and control communities, (b) measure outcomes potentially affected by these shocks (e.g. employment, business revenues and profits, agricultural harvests, food security and mental health), and (c) measure behaviors associated with viral transmission. This data collection will enable us to answer whether and how UBI moderates the impacts of such a crisis, as well as the transmission of the disease.