More Europeans are about to get some free money in the name of economics research.
The European Union is funding a new universal basic income experiment in Barcelona alongside similar tests in Helsinki and the Dutch city of Ultrecht.
Around 1,000 low-income households in one of the city’s poorest districts will be randomly selected to receive monthly payments of between €400 ($450) and €525 ($590) for two years. All told, the three programs will cost the EU €13 million ($14.7 million).
The study is the latest in a series of research efforts launched across the globe in recent months to put the policy to the test in a real-world setting.
The idea of a universal basic income — a system in which a government would give every citizen equal no-strings-attached payments — has been gaining traction lately thanks in part to endorsements from big-name Silicon Valley moguls (most recently Mark Zuckerberg) and the looming threat of automation-driven job loss.
Already this year, experiments have been announced or launched in Ontario, Oakland, and Uganda in addition to the European trials.
A survey earlier this year found that seven in 10 Europeans would vote for a UBI policy if given the chance.
Despite the supposed popular support, though, the people of Switzerland resoundingly voted down a countrywide proposal in a referendum last year.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) — an intergovernmental group of free-market democracies — also concluded in a policy brief last month that a UBI implemented across European countries would require substantial tax hikes in order to match the poverty line.