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Über dieses Buch

This book examines the evolution of basic income policy and research in advanced economies and is divided into two parts. The first section considers the development of basic income as a social policy initiative in advanced (OECD) nations from the 1960s to today. It reviews what the negative income tax experiments accomplished, their limitations, and what they can lend to the design and implementation of basic income pilots or a full blown basic income program today. It also considers important developments and research in poverty and economic inequality and in technological change and labour market adjustment over the last half century. The second section focuses on the Canadian case, where the prospects for basic income are perhaps among the most promising. In addition to a review of Mincome and its lessons and limitations, this section considers important developments in poverty research by the Economic Council of Canada and the Canadian Senate in the 1960s, attempts at welfare reform, and the policy initiatives to develop a basic income for elderly Canadians that has endured to this day. Many of the important social and technological developments that are reviewed in the first part will be discussed in more detail with specific reference to the Canadian case. The evolution of the important policy innovations―the National Child Benefit and its successors and the Poverty Reduction Strategy―are outlined in detail and linked to other, more modest, income support initiatives such as the federal sales tax credit that provide a potential foundation for a comprehensive basic income plan in Canada. Research, including recent microsimulation studies of a basic income, are critically reviewed. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has increased interest in basic income to support those hardest hit, the book argues for careful design of basic income policies in its aftermath rather than simplistic adoption of emergency pandemic measures.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction: Maturity of Basic Income and Its Prospects in Canada and Elsewhere

Abstract
The popularity of basic income as a topic of discussion in its many forms cannot be disputed, even as prosperous societies grapple with other problems, including most recently the COVID-19 pandemic. This chapter outlines how the book will assess the modern evolution of basic income and prospects for its realization in the advanced economies of North America and Europe, with a special focus on Canada in later chapters, based on an extensive corpus of research but also some promising political developments. The pandemic has enhanced interest to protect those with low incomes and exposed the limitations of current income support programs, but the design and implementation of an effective basic income plan require a sound understanding of what would work best grounded in past and present research and experience.
Wayne Simpson

Basic Income as Social Policy in Advanced Economies

Frontmatter

Chapter 2. Emergence of the Basic Income Concept as a Negative Income Tax (the 60s)

Abstract
Emerging evidence on the problem of poverty led to U.S. President Johnson’s declaration of a War on Poverty in 1964. His initiative, supported by research from his Council of Economic Advisors and other sources, led to the establishment of the Office of Economic Opportunity to spearhead anti-poverty initiatives. Within three years, the anti-poverty strategy had veered toward more comprehensive cash transfers and the idea of a negative income tax popularized by Milton Friedman and other prominent economists. Many of these proposals were based on cash transfers from the existing tax system, and this approach received support in the emerging optimal taxation literature pioneered by James Mirrlees, but the work disincentive or labour supply effects of a negative income tax plan emerged as an important concern.
Wayne Simpson

Chapter 3. The Age of Negative Income Tax Experimentation (the 70s)

Abstract
By 1967, some form of negative income tax was viewed as a leading policy candidate to provide an effective poverty reduction strategy for the U.S., but concerns about work incentives and the administration of an unconditional cash transfer of this kind led to proposals for a series of scientific experiments rather than a full-blown basic income plan. This chapter reviews the issues and lessons associated with the design, implementation and analysis of the four income maintenance experiments conducted in a tightly woven time frame in the U.S. between 1969 and 1975. While the experiments eventually provided evidence of relatively small work disincentive effects, those results were too late and too poorly understood to help Nixon’s Family Assistance Plan, a negative income tax proposal, which failed in the U.S. Senate.
Wayne Simpson

Chapter 4. Basic Income Beyond the Negative Income Tax (the 80s and 90s and a Bit Before)

Abstract
American flirtation with a negative income tax ended with a turn toward the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income families. The post-war U.S. and European welfare systems provided inadequate benefits with bureaucratically administered work conditions that imposed high tax rates on earnings to discourage work and exit from welfare, even as issues around poverty, inequality, occupational polarization, precarious employment and European unemployment manifested. The concept of a universal basic income emerged as a means to assert citizens’ rights and reinvigorate labour by disconnecting income assistance from a potentially dehumanizing wage labour market, leading to the formation of the Basic Income Europe Network, although political success was limited to the introduction of a Dutch partial basic income plan and an Alaskan universal dividend from oil revenues.
Wayne Simpson

Chapter 5. Basic Income in the Twenty-First Century (the 00s and 10s)

Abstract
The first two decades of the twenty-first century brought little relief to advanced economies in terms of poverty, inequality, disruptive technological change, and precarious employment. There were only limited reforms to the welfare state, although promising initiatives to integrate social assistance benefits with greater financial incentives to work occurred in France and the U.K., albeit with a continuation of work conditions. Basic income pilot projects have proliferated but appear to lack the focus and documentation that scientific experimentation would require. Research on optimal taxation has led to proposals for a negative income tax in the form of a refundable tax credit that would mirror the Universal Credit implemented in the U.K. but with greater work incentives and no work conditions. Emerging microsimulation modelling provides a promising alternative strategy to evaluate basic income policies.
Wayne Simpson

A Basic Income for Canada?

Frontmatter

Chapter 6. Emergence of the Negative Income Tax in Canada (the 60s and 70s)

Abstract
The 1960s marked a period of nation building in Canada which also included the introduction of a guaranteed income benefit for seniors, the Guaranteed Income Supplement and the first serious studies of low family incomes. Evidence of widespread poverty led to calls for a negative income tax and agreement for the Manitoba Basic Annual Income Experiment (Mincome) that emulated the U.S. experiments but added a unique saturation site in Dauphin. While the experiment quickly yielded useful administrative lessons, resource limitations in an inflationary environment shelved data development and slowed analysis. As in the U.S., the 1970s began with serious deliberation of a negative income tax but ended with the idea of a guaranteed income seemingly forgotten and little to show for a multimillion dollar experiment.
Wayne Simpson

Chapter 7. Development of a “Basic Income” in Canada (the 80s and 90s)

Abstract
Fortuitous political events led to revival of Mincome under the Institute for Economic Research at the University of Manitoba. Analysis of the Winnipeg dispersed sample indicated very modest labour supply response to a negative income tax in line with U.S. results, awareness by those treated of the broad program features, and no evidence of marital instability. Despite extended periods of strong growth toward the end of the twentieth century, poverty persisted amidst growing income inequality but without the occupational polarization evident in the U.S. and Europe. The Macdonald Commission proposal for a Universal Income Security Plan, introduction of a universal refundable sales tax credit and creation of the National Child Benefit Initiative all represented potentially influential steps toward a basic income in Canada.
Wayne Simpson

Chapter 8. Basic Income in Canada in the Twenty-First Century (the 00s and 10s)

Abstract
Canada’s poverty rate began a steady descent in 2000 despite slower economic growth, although concerns about precarious employment grew. New research from Dauphin suggested health and education benefits from a negative income tax as well as social interaction effects on labour force participation. Successive policy initiatives under the National Child Benefit culminated in the Canada Child Benefit to support lower-income families. A basic income pilot project in Ontario was discontinued without yielding any results, while promising microsimulation research on the impacts of a basic income emerged. The Poverty Reduction Act was passed to declare the Market Basket Measure as the official poverty measure, establish a national advisory council and set ambitious poverty targets that will require a more comprehensive approach to income support along the lines of a basic income.
Wayne Simpson

Chapter 9. Where Is the Forefront of Basic Income?

Abstract
This concluding chapter tries to summarize and further clarify the issues around basic income policy for advanced economies, including both the negative income tax and universal basic income approaches. It then turns for special attention to the Canadian case, where a long history of income assistance through the tax system for those with low incomes coupled with a recent spotlight on anti-poverty strategy offers a pathway, albeit not without its challenges, to a universally accessible basic income. The chapter also offers some final thoughts on what might lie ahead as the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic to a new normal.
Wayne Simpson

Backmatter

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