What would happen if someone else paid your rent, no strings attached? How would you spend your time? Some people in Oakland, California, are about to find out.
Y Combinator — known for supporting early stage startup companies financially and otherwise — is hoping to answer such questions via its Basic Income Project.
Earlier this year, the Silicon Valley organization announced that it wanted to “fund a study on basic income — i.e., giving people enough money to live on with no strings attached.”
Y Combinator announced Tuesday that it has completed the step of hiring a researcher, Elizabeth Rhodes, to head up that study.
At Y Combinator, Rhodes will help design a “large, long-term study to answer a few key questions: How people’s happiness, well-being, and financial health are affected by basic income, as well as how people might spend their time.”
Y Combinator explains in a blog post:
In our pilot, the income will be unconditional; we’re going to give it to participants for the duration of the study, no matter what. People will be able to volunteer, work, not work, move to another country — anything. …
Y Combinator adds that participants will be “able to work and earn as much as they want” as part of the project. “We hope a minimum level of economic security will give people the freedom to pursue further education or training, find or create a better job, and plan for the future.”
Y Combinator expects to spend the next few months designing the pilot.
Oakland was chosen because of its proximity to Y Combinator and for its “great social and economic diversity,” which includes “both concentrated wealth and considerable inequality.”
Rhodes tells CNN Money:
“It’s a really exciting opportunity. It’s a new idea; it’s still somewhat obscure.”
How would you spend your time if someone covered your basic income needs? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.