Jamesta Istimewa is a Basic Income Pilot experiment that provides participants free cash payments without strings attached. “Jamesta” means Universal Basic Income Guarantee in Bahasa (Indonesian language), and “Istimewa” means “special,” which is nothing but another name for the Special Region of Yogyakarta. In this place, this experiment was conducted. Jamesta Istimewa also has the privilege of being the first Crowdfunding-Based Basic Income Pilot experiment in Yogyakarta and Indonesia, which was carried out in a structured and systematic manner.

Yogyakarta’s Basic Income Pilot (YBIP) was conducted to answer some basic questions: Do people tend to be lazy when receiving free money? Is that true, or is it just a myth? Can Basic Income – to a certain extent – positively affect a person’s mental health? How do Basic Income recipients interpret and respond to Basic Income payments for themselves and their future? As well as various other interesting questions that have been coloring the debates related to the pros and cons of UBI, especially in the Indonesian context.

This Basic Income Pilot ran from November 2021 to April 2022. Experimental participants were recruited through an online open form distributed to the public in Yogyakarta. This city was chosen because it has a unique and interesting sociodemographic characteristic. Yogyakarta is widely known as a college-student-friendly city. With hundreds of universities, students come here from all over Indonesia. Yogyakarta is also known as a city of arts and culture with various relics of the past, which attracts millions of tourists from all over the world every year. Yogyakarta is also known as an area with a relatively low minimum wage level compared to other provinces in Indonesia. Furthermore, the cost of living in Yogyakarta is also touted as one of the cheapest in the country. Of course, the attributions above are debatable. But Yogyakarta’s unique sociocultural and socioeconomic setting was considered appropriate and exciting for carrying out this first Basic Income experiment in Indonesia.

Anyone living within the province of Yogyakarta during the experimental period (November 2021-April 2022) could register as a participant. Yogyakarta consists of four regencies (Sleman, Bantul, Kulon Progo, and Gunung Kidul) and one city (Yogyakarta City). According to the results of the 2020 Population Census (BPS, September 2020), the total population of DIY was 3,668,719 people. Participants who lived in Yogyakarta did not have to have a Yogyakarta ID card. Those who had a Yogyakarta ID card but lived outside Yogyakarta at the time of the experiment could not register as participants. When registration opened online on October 15, 2021, there were 2150 initial registrants. It was found that 50 double registrants had to be removed. Thus, the total number of registrants for this experiment was 2,100 people spread across five DIY regions. The average age of applicants was 33 years, with a composition of 51.4 percent male and 48.1 percent female. Of a hundred Pilot participants, 60 percent of them are female.

From the 2,100 registrants, 100 participants were randomly selected to be involved in further experiments: 25 recipients of basic income (control group) and 75 people who did not receive basic income but were willing to be involved and fill out the questionnaire given by the researcher (control group). The drawing process was carried out via Livestream on YouTube, and the recording can be seen here

Jamesta Istimewa was run by a group of enthusiastic volunteer-young people in Yogyakarta. Most of them live in Yogyakarta, and some work remotely from outside the city, for example in Bandung and Jakarta. This experiment ran because of the full support of the CEOs of Kita Bisa (M. Al Fatih Timur) and M. Faiz Ghifari (Strategic Initiatives Kitabisa.com). Sena M. Luphdika was the project coordinator responsible for the overall management and implementation of this Pilot. Sena was supported by several other volunteers, such as Bimo Ario Suryandaru (Campaign Coordinator), Dianti Wulansari, Kurniawan Adhi, and Niko Febrianur (Webmaster). They are the ones who were behind the scenes running this Pilot from beginning to end. Yanu Endar Prasetyo (IndoBIG Network & Research Center for Population BRIN) is the research coordinator responsible for the study of this Pilot.

The final report of this pilot experiment will be released on Sunday, May 7, 2023 in a public discussion in Yogyakarta with some panelists such as Sarath Davala (Chair, BIEN), Dr. Nawawi (Chair, Research Center for Population – BRIN), Herni Ramdlaningrum (The Prakarsa) and representatives from the Yogyakarta Province Poverty Reduction Acceleration Team. The discussion also can be followed on YouTube Live Stream by clicking here.