A basic income would not necessarily mean that people would work less. This is the conclusion of a series of behavioural experiments by cognitive psychologist Fenna Poletiek, social psychologist Erik de Kwaadsteniet and cognitive psychologist Bastiaan Vuyk. They also found indications that people with a basic income are more likely to find a job that suits them better.
The psychologists received a grant from the FNV union to research the behavioural effects of a basic income. They simulated the reward structure of different forms of social security in an experiment. ‘We got people to do a task on a computer,’ says De Kwaadsteniet. ‘In multiple rounds, which represented the months they had to work, they did a boring task in which they had to put points on a bar. The more of these they did, the more money they earned.’
The psychologists researched three different conditions: no social security, a conditional benefits system and an unconditional basic income. De Kwaadsteniet: ‘In the condition without social security, the test participants didn’t receive a basic sum. In the benefits condition they received a basic sum, which they lost as soon as they started working. In the basic income condition they received the same basic sum but didn’t lose this when they started work.’