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The Maricá Basic Income Evaluation research team is delighted to share that, after many trying months of fieldwork in a pandemic, the application of our quantitative survey has concluded. Meanwhile, qualitative researchers are preparing the launch of a series of structured follow-up interviews across the city. Conducting large-scale fieldwork safely in a pandemic has proved as challenging as anticipated. As the team turns to data cleaning and analysis, we feel grateful for the challenges overcome and excited for the results to come. Below you’ll find more details.
Quantitative Fieldwork Concludes
After nearly eight months of fieldwork, data collection was completed in April 2022. A total of 5,258 interviews were conducted, with 2,797 in the treatment group (basic income recipients) and 2,461 in the comparison group. We have invited Roberta Costa to the PI team due to her spectacular work on the data collection—thank you, Roberta!
The study and the Pre-Analysis Plan have been registered on Open Science Framework (the study can be found at https://osf.io/dmg9f , and the Pre-Analysis Plan can be found at https://osf.io/kjpcd). Over the next several months, the team will focus on data cleaning and analysis and we look forward to sharing preliminary results as soon as feasible.
Qualitative Fieldwork Advances
Meanwhile, the team is preparing for the launch of qualitative fieldwork. Together with implementation partners at Jumppi, we will conduct more than 70 in-depth structured interviews with beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries, using a set of three qualitative instruments capturing experiences with, and perceptions of, the Maricá basic income program and its impacts. These structured interviews will complement the more than two dozen semi-structured interviews that Maricá Basic Income Evaluation researchers have conducted with political and community leaders across the city since late 2020.
A Social Technology in Rapid Ascent
Since our research collaboration began in 2019, the Maricá model – income transfers paid in digital complementary currencies administered by community banks and spendable only in the issuing city – has spread to neighboring municipalities. As research team member Fernando Freitas reported in an article in Brazil’s O Estadão on April 27, in recent months, Maricá’s Mumbuca has been joined by the Arariboia in Niterói, the Pedra Bonita in Itaboraí, and the Itajuru in Cabo Frio, demonstrating the growing interest that this strategy for inclusive social development has attracted.
The social technology underlying these complementary currencies was created by the Instituto E-Dinheiro, an initiative of the Banco Palmas community bank in Fortaleza, Brazil. Among the world’s leading cooperative institutions, they are led by Joaquim Melo and preside over a network of more than 100 community banks and local complementary currencies. In June, research team members Paul Katz and Andrea Gama traveled to Fortaleza to visit the Bank and Institute and learn more about their work, which is the focus of Andrea’s MA thesis.
Permanent Increase in the Value of the Benefit
In May of 2022, the value of Maricá’s Citizens’ Basic Income was permanently increased to 200 mumbucas, equivalent to R$200 (~US$39). This follows a series of changes in the value of the benefit, which in 2019 was set to 130 mumbucas per person. Between April 2020 and December 2021, in response to the Covid-19 crisis, the benefit was temporarily increased to 300 mumbucas per person. More than 42,000 Maricá residents currently receive the benefit.
Thank you to the Maricá Evaluation team for the interesting update!