Universal Basic Income COVID-19 Digest

The current COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted gaping holes in safety nets globally, leaving vulnerable and marginalized populations worse off, and those who were once secure on the verge of falling into poverty. During past economic shocks, governments have scaled up existing cash transfer programs and implemented new support programs to buffer the social and economic impact for individuals and households. Similarly, during this current shock, governments are doing the same, though with increasing calls for the implementation of a basic income-like policy.

As part of the Basic Income Lab’s mission to convene key stakeholders and members of the community around the politics, philosophy and economics of universal basic income, the Lab has put together a “living” digest of tools, research and events from partners, research institutions and think tanks on basic income during this global pandemic. We encourage you to explore the tools.

Should you find something missing or if you would like the Lab to highlight something, we encourage you to email us at basicincomelab@stanford.edu.

Policy Tools

How are past policy responses to global crises informing the creation of new policies in response to COVID-19? Are the new policies adequate? How are governments across the globe responding to the ever-changing current financial, social and health crises? The policy tools included in this section address some of these questions through 'living papers' on what the social protection responses have been around the world, a set of indicators to measure government responses, and a global repository of policy responses to address COVID-19, among others.


Social Protection and Jobs Response to COVID-19: A Real-Time Review of Country Measures

‘Living paper’ updated weekly of country-level social protection responses to COVID, including: cash transfers, universal one-off cash, childcare support, cash for work, social pensions, in-kind vouchers, school feeding, and utility and financial obligation support.

PoliMap: A global repository of policy responses to tackle COVID-19

Timeline of county-level responses, including social and economic interventions to mitigate the negative consequences of virus suppression measures

First Policy Response: Canada’s policy community response to COVID-19

A curated summary of articles, opinion pieces, papers and Twitter threads



This section includes analysis and research from policymakers, practitioners, researchers and research institutions on the use of basic income-like policies as a response to COVID-19.


Is the pandemic finally the moment for a universal basic income?

Brooks Rainwater with the National League of Cities and Clay Dillow, consultant (appearing in Fast Company)

Ensuring Women's Access to Cash Transfers in the Wake of COVID-19

Center for Global Development: Shelby Bourgault and Megan O’Donnell


Upcoming Events

This section highlights upcoming events as they relate to on basic income or related policies during this pandemic. All upcoming events are hosted by partners of the Basic Income Lab, research institutions, policy think tanks or foundations.


Green-Red Dialogues: Universal Basic Income – Pathway out of the Covid-19 Crisis?

September 17, 2020

12pm EST. Antonio Costas – Professor of political economy at UB Barcelona and Aina Vidal, member of the Spanish parliament (Unidas Podemos)


Past Events

This section provides links to past events on the intersection of basic income or related policies and COVID-19. All past events are hosted by partners of the Basic Income Lab, research institutions, policy think tanks or foundations.


Recovery, Re-Employment, and Re-Imagining Work

July 1, 2020

1pm EST. Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative.

Universal Basic Income as a possible remedy to the COVID-19 crisis?

June 3, 2020

8am EST. Green European Foundation and Alviina Alametsä, Natalie Bennett and Julen Bollain.