UBI Simulation Game

Some results from alpha testing of the Universal Basic Income simulation game

Together with the Swedish Sustainable Economy Foundation I am developing a Universal basic Income “Business Game“. The idea is to take a simplified, fictive country and play around with various aspects of UBI to learn by doing.

We are into the first alpha testing phase and have produced an overview dashboard to look into what sort of figure we are interested in following as the game progresses

Conditions: raise VAT, lower taxes on wages, start raising UBI, reduction in workforce.

The above run was a force run to see how raising taxes and lowering numbers in work looks in the system. As you see the state gets less to spend on services as income declines. Maybe not so interesting. The next run looks at raising UBI from under minimum standard and just raising VAT.

Conditions: raise UBI from under minimum, raise VAT.

The second run added spending power of UBI takers to the dashboard. If you raise VAT you lower spending power. Interestingly – in the simplified model at least – you get MORE state income and the UBI takers do not get lowered VAT. This gives us a hint that it might be possible to raise UBI and Universal Basic Services, although the UBI eats away at the money available for social costs.

Modelling like this raises many detailed questions and it is a difficult task to make the game engine simple enough to handle in a game situation ( so that you learn basic principles) and complex enough to give a feeling of “real life” (so it feels authentic enough).

Let me know in the comments if there is any logic I am missing or any metric you want to see on the dashboard.

Click here for more articles on the UBI simulation


5 thoughts on “UBI Simulation Game”

  1. I think you nail it when you note that the real world is too complicated to be captured in this model.
    In simple terms a full UBS program is going to have a total GDP cost of 23% (that’s around 19% already being spent on social Services + 4% to upgrade to full UBS).
    The rest of spending (20% in avg EU) has to cover all else. So take out some admin and defence and you maybe have 17% GDP. Today that is mostly allocated to targeted cash compensation (Sweden: 20%), but you can rearrange at will.
    Most likely you will end up where every other tax funded UBI does: massive churn for relatively little difference. Targeted (means and needs tested) benefits are unpopular but they are very good at going towards accepted needs and very hard to compensate with a universal cash distribution that uses the same money.

    1. First learning comes from you, then. Making UBI a question of cost only. UBI is something that could be an insurance as companies close down and others open. The altetnative is to provide a (green) job guarantee for everyone. That costs.

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