Private basic income experiment in Japan publishes first results

Maezawa Method Basic Income Social Experiment Yields Lower Divorce Rates, Increases in Business Startups, and Happier People with 1-million-yen in Early Participant Study


TOKYOJune 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Maezawa Otoshidama (“1 Million Giveaway”) Management Secretariat today released initial survey results for the research study entitled the “Basic Income Social Experiment Survey.” Initial survey results include:

  • In the preliminary survey, only 48% of respondents knew what Basic Income is. After the commencement of the experiment, 91% answered they are aware of what Basic Income is.
  • 90% of respondents believe a cash benefit is necessary during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • 85% of respondents had given up on challenges due to lack of cash funding (e.g. a business launch, university, studying abroad, etc.), and 45% of respondents would have challenged themselves if they had JPY 1,000,000.
  • Respondents who already received JPY 1,000,000 were now 3.9 times more interested in launching a new business, 3.1 times more interested in getting married, and 2.3 times more interested in study abroad.
  • More than 70% of respondents who have already received the JPY 1,000,000 cash benefit have experienced a significant increase in their level of happiness
  • Recipients of the cash benefit saw a decrease in divorce rates, from 1.5% to 0.6%.

In April 2020, Maezawa Otoshidama Management Secretariat commenced a social experiment distributing 1-million-yen (Basic Income) to 1,000 individuals who entered the “Maezawa Otoshidama” giveaway in January 2020, through Twitter. Amid the ongoing chaos and confusion the novel coronavirus caused to the economy and society, the “Basic Income Social Experiment Survey” (hereinafter referred to as “this experiment”), has begun to see the possibility of improving labor productivity as well as the possibility of increasing motivation to work, and eventually distinguish the effects money will have on people’s behavior, conditions and values.

To find out the influence that cash benefits have on change, a total of 79,119 participants  answered the “Preliminary Survey” and “Monthly Survey for April.” 1,000 people out of the total number of survey participants are experiencing Basic Income through this experiment. 250 people have already received JPY 1,000,000 each, another 250 will be receiving JPY 1,000,000  each in October, and another 500 will receive JPY 1,000,000 each over the course of a year.

“We had an overwhelming number of people participate and it has let us analyze the experiment thoroughly. The overall participants showed no major differences in the number of people or income per household compared to the average number for each, therefore, we were already able to see a change in the behavior and consciousness of the participants,” says Takashi Unayama, Professor at Hitotsubashi University Institute of Economic Research and Research Supervisor for this experiment.

“Also, by conducting consistent surveys, we will be able to analyze separately the influence that the current coronavirus pandemic is causing to households and how 1-million-yen can influence change during such a situation,” adds Unayama. “This should shed light on the problems that Japanese households are experiencing and what can be resolved from receiving 1-million-yen.”

“For someone like myself who has appealed the need to implement Basic Income, it is deeply moving to see that through this experiment, there is great possibility of finding a positive connection between cash benefits and a happier and fulfilled life. Whether or not receiving 1-million-yen will actually encourage those who had wanted to challenge things like studying abroad or setting up their own business, despite the coronavirus situation making it difficult, it  will be very interesting to see the results,” says Tomohiro Inoue, Associate Professor at Komazawa University School of Economics and Research Supervisor for this experiment.

For more information on the survey results, please visit the Basic Income Social Experiment website. The next iteration of survey results will be released in October 2020.

SOURCE Maezawa Basic Income Social Experiment 2020

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