eBay founder invests $500,000 in an experiment giving away money

Omidyar Network invested $493,000 into an experiment giving people in Kenya free money.

Pierre Omidyar © OnInnovation_The Henry Ford at Flickr

The philanthropic investment arm launched by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar will help the charity GiveDirectly to test an up-and-coming solution to poverty known as basic income.

According to The Business Insider, Kenyans under this basic income will receive a set amount of money on a regular basis to cover for expenses such as rent, food, and clothing.

“Omidyar Network’s foundational belief that empowering people frees them to better themselves, their families, and their communities has great evidence in the growing literature around the benefits of cash transfers,” wrote manager Tracy Williams and partner Mike Kubzansky on the blog post announcing the investment.

Once the full experiment launches in a few months, it will become the largest basic income experiment ever conducted. More than 26,000 people will receive free money in some form for different durations.

Studies have suggested that providing people with basic income allows them to become more self-sufficient, less stressed, and helps them to start businesses and send their kids to school.

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