Meet our team
For more than two decades Sean has designed and expanded financial innovations to address poverty, economic insecurity and exclusion. He is former Director of the San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment, where he was a leading voice for municipal innovation and equity-driven policies that improve people’s lives and inspire replication. This included co-designing Stanford Basic Income Lab’s first-in-the-nation gathering of mayors and researchers in 2017 with the National League of Cities, and co-authoring the subsequent toolkit, Basic Income in Cities: A Guide to City Experiments and Pilot Projects.
Prior to government, Sean designed and tested frontier social business models, including Reach Global, a first-of-its-kind social franchise that delivered health, livelihood and family finance education with financial services to more than two million women and adolescent girls in Asia, Africa and Latin America. He was also founding CEO of Prizma, a social enterprise in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina that grew from a small refugee assistance project to become one of the largest microfinance institutions in Central & Eastern Europe and among the 50 strongest globally. Drawing on this experience, Sean helped shape policies and practices of the microfinance field, demonstrating ways financial institutions and impact investors could balance social and financial performance. Sean holds a master’s degree from the London School of Economics & Political Science.
Professor Juliana Bidadanure is a political philosopher of equality working on social inequalities, intergenerational justice, ageism, relational equality, and basic income. She founded the Stanford Basic Income Lab in 2017 while an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University. In Fall 2023, Bidadanure transitioned to an Associate Professorship in Philosophy at New York University and stepped down from her leadership role at BIL. She remains involved as Senior Advisor.
Bidadanure established Stanford as an academic hub for the study of the politics, philosophy, and economics of basic income. In her 6 years as Faculty Director, BIL designed several online platforms, maps, and dashboards to track basic income data and monitor the growing wave of basic income experiments; convened dozens of events with academics, practitioners, policymakers and community organizers; and published toolkits, white papers, and reports to equip practitioners with lessons-learned and best practices. Bidadanure placed ethics at the center of her vision, supporting research and learnings around basic income’s multifaceted connections with racial and gender justice, dignity, trust, equality, equity, and freedom. At NYU, she continues to write on inequalities and is involved in a range of basic income projects throughout the world. You can learn more about Professor Bidadanure here.
Rebecca Hasdell is a Research Advisor at the Basic Income Lab (Stanford University) and an Adjunct Faculty member in the Northern Medical Program (University of British Columbia). Over the past 10 years, Rebecca has worked in program planning and strategic policy for local governments, research institutions and not-for-profit organizations in the areas of poverty reduction, food access and environmental health, including leading major social policy initiatives a City of Toronto Urban Fellow.
Rebecca’s research examines healthy public policy approaches to promote healthier communities and cities. Rebecca completed her Masters of Public Health (Health Promotion) and PhD (Social and Behavioral Health Sciences) at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. Her mixed-method PhD (2011-2018) integrated knowledge and approaches from policy studies and population health intervention research to examine population-level solutions to improve food access in smaller cities and rural and remote regions. Her research was funded by Canadian Institutes for Health Research fellowships in public health policy and knowledge translation.
Rebecca joined the team at the Basic Income Lab to lead a review of the global evidence base for cash-based transfer programs. Her interest in basic income is driven by her background working with communities and local government to address a wide variety of health and social inequities. Through this work, she has seen the potential for economic policy to improve community wellbeing. The fellowship will provide an opportunity to better understand the outcomes of cash-based transfers, with a focus on what works, for whom and under what contextual circumstances.
Sage was drawn to basic income initially through her background in technology and witnessing firsthand the wealth automation generates for some while leaving others behind. Headlines featuring “robot taxes”, “impending job loss”, and basic income as a future necessity perked her ears to what eventually became a year of research on the topic. Sage thought that basic income should not just be seen as a bandaid on a dystopian future, but instead part of a support structure for a more stable modern society and economy.
During her time at Stanford, Sage designed an application that ran community level UBI through philanthropy. This tool allowed people to gain financial consciousness of their wealth relative to the cost of living in their area and how differing size donations would impact others in their community. The idea for the application grew out of her concern for gentrification, the slow process to actually implement experiments and create policy change, and the extreme wealth inequality in the Bay Area that is mirrored in other parts of the globe.
In order to build the application, Sage sought to understand what makes one willing and happy to give or take funds and what size community makes people the most generous and also leaves the greatest impact. These questions were addressed in her master’s thesis, “Automation: The Curse and the Cure: Why Tech Companies have an Ethical Responsibility to Assist in Economic Security,” which more generally addresses problems of poverty, inequality and technology.
During her time at the Lab, Sage supported the organization of the large Cities event and designed the Lab’s original website.
Guillermo Gomez was a Master’s student in Stanford’s Computational Social Science program, under the Management Science & Engineering department.
He worked on the lab’s online research mapping of the basic income literature, which included key articles produced on UBI to date, highlighting important findings from each and ensuring that core areas such as health, crime, stigma, childhood poverty and gender equity are covered. He also supported the lab with program management basics by creating custom internal tracking tools.
Sophia Hunt is a PhD student in the Sociology Department at Stanford. Her research interests include law and society, race and ethnicity, social stratification, and education. Before coming to Stanford, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard in History & Literature.
Sophia’s work at the Basic Income Lab focused on reviewing the academic literature on the impact of basic income on crime and racial justice. She is specifically interested in how UBI influences recidivism, the racial wealth gap, and expands notions of citizenship in the United States.
Ye Ji is a PhD student in the Department of Economics at Stanford University. Her research interests include topics in labor economics and behavioral economics.
Before coming to Stanford, Ye Ji graduated from Wellesley College in 2013 with degrees in economics and mathematics, and then she worked as a research assistant at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and the National Bureau of Economics.
During her time with the Lab, she reviewed the empirical literature on Universal Basic Income for the initial phase of the online visual platform.
Danielle is a senior majoring in philosophy. Her interest in universal basic income was piqued when she took Phil 174B with Juliana Bidadanure. Outside of philosophy research, she is an avid member of the debate team at Stanford.
At the Lab, Danielle researched alternative policies to basic income.
Joan O’Bryan is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science. Before coming to Stanford, she taught middle school for three years, then attended the University of Cambridge, receiving her MPhil in Public Policy. These experiences sparked her interest in the connection between academic debates and real-world policy practice, and her research at the Basic Income Lab focuses on this intersection.
Joan Supported the Lab’s research visualization project and reviewed the UBI literature on topics relating to democracy, civic participation, democratization, and good governance.
Neryvia Pillay Bell completed her PhD in the Economics Department and was a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study in 2018/19. Her research examined the ways in which government policies affect individual education, labor market and health outcomes.
Neryvia surveyed the academic literature relating to basic income experiments around the world, focusing primarily on empirical evidence regarding the impact of basic income on health and gender outcomes.
Michelle Reddy received her PhD in International Comparative Education and completed her Master’s in Political Science. Her research focused on non-state actors and civic engagement, particularly during humanitarian crises such as Ebola, Zika, and the migration crisis. Michelle’s dissertation examines how different organizational forms of nonprofits affects political socialization. She also studies the emergence of domestic organizations delivering health and education services in developing countries.
At the Lab, Michelle focused on reviewing the empirical literature on Universal Basic Income across 21 thematic areas. She also carried out research on basic income and its potential to impact education outcomes.
Avshalom Schwarz is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University.
Avshalom supported the Lab’s research visualization project, reviewing the UBI literature on topics relating to automation, the future of work, growing inequalities and environmental justice.
Lara Spencer is a third year PhD student in the Philosophy Department. While most of her research is centered on the philosophy of science, she has become increasingly interested in the interface of philosophy and policy. To this end, her research on UBI lies at the intersection of basic income and women’s health.
Lara supported the Lab’s research visualization project, reviewing the UBI literature on topics relating wellbeing and community.
Having worked in and researched international development for several years, Catherine was inspired by growing evidence on the effectiveness of unconditional and conditional cash transfers on improving wellbeing, health, and economic outcomes. This is especially important in the midst of disappointing results on the impact of most economic development interventions. Catherine believes that universal basic income is a promising strategy for advancing evidence-based social policy and more inclusive societies. She brings her background in psychology to bear on her studies of UBI, exploring how psychological insights can increase the effectiveness of and support for cash-based welfare.
Through laboratory and field experiments in the US and in Kenya, Catherine examines how psychological insights can be applied to increase the effectiveness of and support for cash-based welfare, including universal basic income. In particular, she is interested in understanding how the ways in which universal basic income policies are communicated not only influence translation to policy but also potentially the effectiveness of the policy on behavioral and wellbeing outcomes.
Catherine examines, first, how values-based messages of universal basic income affect policy support and affect stigmatizing attitudes against low-income populations among the general public in the US. Second, she assesses how such messages, in turn, differentially influence agency, self-investment behaviors, stigma, and support for such policies among low-income populations in the US and in Kenya.
At the Lab, Catherine was a primary author of the 2018 Basic Income In Cities Toolkit.
César Valenzuela is a PhD student in the Philosophy Department at Stanford University. His research centers on political philosophy, philosophy of race, and philosophy of social science. More specifically, César’s work examines social scientific explanations for the persistence of structural inequalities, as well as the theories and methods through which the stability and backsliding of democracies are assessed by political scientists. Before coming to Stanford, he obtained degrees in Philosophy, French Literature, and Communications.
At the Lab, César reviewed the literature on the impact and challenges of basic income experiments for a new basic income toolkit supporting cities to design, implement and evaluate basic income experiments.