Sir Christopher Pissarides, a Nobel prize-winning economist and the Regius professor at London School of Economics, expressed his support for a universal basic income, at one of the debate sessions of the World Economic Forum at Davos, on 20th January 2016.

Professor Pissarides said:

The pie is growing bigger, there is no guarantee that everyone will benefit if we leave the market alone. In fact, if anything, we think that not everyone will benefit if we leave the market alone. So we need to develop a new system of redistributions, new policies that will redistribute inevitably from those that the market would have rewarded in favour of those that the market would have left behind. Now, having a universal minimum income is one of those ways, in fact, it is one I am very much in favour of, as long as we know how to apply it without taking away incentive to work at the lower end of the market.

[Transcribed by Toru Yamamori from the video. Any inaccuracy belongs to him.]


The session ‘A World Without Work’ was held in partnership with NHK, the Japanese national broadcasting agency. In addition to Pissarides, participants included:

  • Erik Brynjolfsson, Director, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, MIT – Sloan School of Management, USA
  • Yoshiaki Fujimori, President and Chief Executive Officer, LIXIL Group, Japan
  • Dileep George, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Vicarious, USA
  • Troels Lund Poulsen, Minister for Business and Growth of Denmark

The session was moderated by Hiroko Kuniya, an anchor for NHK and other speakers also discussed basic income. You can watch the highlights form the panel here:

YouTube player

The full session can be viewed online:

“World Economic Forum Annual Meeting: A World Without Work?” World Economic Forum. 20 January 2016.

“Davos 2016 – A World Without Work?” YouTube, 20 January 2016.