Meet our leadership and fellows:
Juliana Bidadanure is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy and, by Courtesy, of Political Science, at Stanford University as well as the founder and faculty director of the Stanford Basic Income Lab.
Professor Bidadanure works at the intersection of Philosophy and Public Policy, examining the values that underpin policy proposals. She writes on basic income, equality, social justice, justice between generations, age discrimination, and youth policy. Her book Justice Across Ages: Treating Young and Old as Equals is forthcoming with Oxford University Press in 2021. The book sets forth ethical principles to guide a fair distribution of goods like jobs, healthcare, income, and political power among persons at different stages of their life.
Professor Bidadanure founded the Stanford Basic Income Lab in 2017 to provide an academic home to the growing interest in UBI. She saw a need for a research center to support experimentations and contribute to a more informed public conversation on UBI. As principal investigator at the lab, she has overseen research on what we know about UBI, what research gaps need to be addressed, and what values and facts underpin the proposal. She also recently published ‘The Political Theory of Universal Basic Income’ in the Annual Review of Political Science. The lab’s publications and projects are all accessible at basicincome.stanford.edu.
Bidadanure teaches a range of classes in Political and Moral Philosophy, including: PHIL 174E/274E Egalitarianism: A course on the history and theory of egalitarianism and anti-egalitarianism; PHIL 174B/274B Universal Basic Income: The Philosophy Behind the Proposal; PHIL 175B/275B Philosophy of Public Policy; PHIL 21N The Ethics of Sports; and PHIL 378B Unequal Relationships.
More be found on her personal website.
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.
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 is reviewing the literature on the impact and challenges of basic income experiments for a new toolkit supporting cities to design, implement and evaluate basic income experiments. He will also support the team with the design and maintenance of a Data Dashboard presenting the findings of guaranteed income pilots in the US.
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.
Olga’s work at the Basic Income Lab focuses on reviewing academic literature on the impact of basic income on gender justice, racial justice, health, the environment, and related concerns. She is mainly surveying the normative debates on basic income, seeking to capture the ethical perspectives on basic income that arise from a variety of theories of justice.
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.
Danielle is currently researching 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.
As a graduate research fellow for the Lab, Joan is taking part in the Lab’s research visualization project and is reviewing the UBI literature on topics relating to democracy, civic participation, democratization, and good governance.
As a graduate research fellow for the Lab, Prach is taking part in the Lab’s research visualization project and will be reviewing the UBI literature on topics relating to economic effects and inequality.
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.
At the Basic Income Lab, Neryvia surveyed the academic literature relating to to basic income experiments around the world. She mainly focused on the 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.
As a graduate fellow for the Basic Income Lab, Avshalom took part in the Lab’s research visualization project. Avshalom reviewed 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.
As a graduate research fellow for the Lab, Lara is taking part in the Lab’s research visualization project and will be 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 central in the authoring and publication of the Toolkit for City Leaders on Basic Income.