Exciting News in Stockton, California

At Y Combinator Research, we believe in studying bold ideas that don’t necessarily make sense to test out as start-ups. That’s why last month we announced our proposal to conduct a large-scale randomized controlled trial to study basic income.

We hope that our study will add some data to the debate about basic income, giving us a better idea of how basic income will actually affect individuals.

At the same time, we view our study as just one piece of a broader research agenda on basic income. To build a holistic, data-driven understanding of the effects basic income, we’ll need to compare outcomes in our study to outcomes in other pilots and research projects.

That is why we were excited to learn from our friends at the Economic Security Project about a new effort to explore basic income right here in California.

On Wednesday, Stockton, CA, Mayor Michael Tubbs and the Reinvent South Stockton Coalition announced the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED). SEED is the first-ever municipal-level pilot program to evaluate how an guaranteed income of $500 per month can improve economic security and the well-being of city residents in the U.S.

Located in the Central Valley, Stockton has a had a rocky recent history. One in four residents lives below the poverty line, the unemployment rate of 7.3% towers the national a rate of 4.2%, and 18% of residents experience food insecurity despite Stockton’s status as an agricultural hub.

Stockton’s new mayor, Michael Tubbs, hopes to turn this around by testing innovative social policy. The Stockton pilot is a major step in that direction--an effort to tackle poverty and invest directly in Stocktonians, while helping us and others learn more about how basic income would work in the U.S. today.

We look forward to learning more about the design and evaluation of this pilot.