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2019 | Buch

The Palgrave International Handbook of Basic Income


Über dieses Buch

“This Handbook offers a timely ‘snapshot’ of the fast-moving global debates on Basic Income. Embracing a range of ideological, ethical, historical and cross-national perspectives, it looks at the case for Basic Income through both a focused and a wide-angled lens. Rather than asserting hard and fast conclusions, it ends with the valuable message that context is all.”
—Ruth Lister, Loughborough University, UK

“A must-read Handbook that provides solid foundations for the growing number of researchers, policymakers and campaigners involved in the ongoing debate on Basic Income."
—Rubén M. Lo Vuolo, the Interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Public Policy, Argentina

“A comprehensive, competent, accessible, up-to-date picture of the current state of knowledge and debate on basic income in several disciplines and in many countries.”

—Philippe Van Parijs, the University of Louvain, Belgium

A Basic Income is an unconditional regular payment for every individual. But is it desirable? And is it feasible? This Handbook brings together scholars from various disciplines and from around the world to examine the history, characteristics, effects, viability and implementation of Basic Income. A variety of pilot projects and ideological perspectives are considered in depth.



Introductory Chapters

Chapter 1. Introduction
The editor describes the Palgrave International Handbook of Basic Income as a comprehensive guide to the debate about Basic Income: an unconditional income paid to every individual regardless of their income, employment status, household structure, or anything else, other than their age. The Handbook is described as international—its authors are drawn from around the world; it is designed for an international audience; and it is about a global debate—and the collaborative approach employed to write the Handbook is discussed. The chapter describes the five parts of the book: (1) the concept of Basic Income, and its history; (2) some effects of Basic Income; (3) the implementation of Basic Income; (4) pilot projects and other experiments; (5) ideological and ethical perspectives.
Malcolm Torry
Chapter 2. The Definition and Characteristics of Basic Income
Torry explores a variety of different ways in which terms are defined: according to current usage; by a list of characteristics; by a legitimate authority on the basis of normative considerations; or by a legitimate authority on the basis of current usage. These methods are then employed to construct a variety of definitions of Basic Income. How the terms are used in practice is explored, and a categorisation of definitions is offered. The chapter then asks how such terms as ‘guarantee’, ‘unconditional’ and ‘universal’ might be defined, and it relates the definitions of those words to definitions of Basic Income. Some policy implications are discussed.
Malcolm Torry
Chapter 3. Three Waves of Basic Income Support
Widerquist shows that since the early twentieth century, Basic Income has experienced three distinct waves of support, each one larger than the last. Basic Income experienced a small wave of support between 1910 and 1940, followed by a down period in the 1940s and 1950s. A second and larger wave of support happened in the 1960s and 1970s, followed by another down period in most countries until the early 2000s. Basic Income’s third and largest wave of support took off around 2010, has increased every year since, and shows no signs of dissipating. This chapter attempts to understand today’s Basic Income movement in the context of that history, drawing lessons from when and where the discussion tends to come and go.
Karl Widerquist

Some of the Likely Effects of Basic Income

Chapter 4. Employment Market Effects of Basic Income
Gilbert, Huws and Yi consider the impact on the labour market of the current wave of technological innovation. They examine changes in the quantity and distribution of jobs as well as qualitative shifts in employment that have affected the economic security of workers. In this context of significant change and uncertainty, the authors explore whether Basic Income would offer a useful social protection system for workers. They conclude that, if certain tax and regulatory changes were to accompany the implementation of a Basic Income, workers would benefit from greater flexibility to combine jobs, secure a stable income, and move in and out of the educational system. They would also experience increased freedom to decline oppressive or degrading labour and would maintain their psychological motivation to work.
Richard Gilbert, Ursula Huws, Gunmin Yi
Chapter 5. Social Effects of Basic Income
Mays discusses the social effects of Basic Income in terms of a safety net that stretches beyond economic security. Such social effects as social cohesion and inclusion, and a sense of community and solidarity, are discussed at the level of the individual, the community, and society as a whole; and each of the three sections is accompanied by a case study about people with disabilities. The chapter finds that the social principles underlying a Basic Income scheme would affect the scheme’s effects, which means that it is important to establish those principles at the beginning of the design phase; and the chapter suggests that an understanding of the social effects of Basic income could counter normative resistance to the notion of Basic Income.
Jenni Mays
Chapter 6. Some Effects of Basic Income on Economic Variables
Desai and Palermo discuss the effects of Basic Income on selected economic variables. The discussion has a theoretical basis and uses a microeconomic approach. The effects that the chapter studies concern both individual and aggregated perspectives. Consumption at the individual level, paid work, unpaid work, and leisure, belong to the first group; and aggregated consumption, Gross Domestic Product, and income distribution, belong to the second. The chapter discusses which effects a Basic Income funded by a labour income tax would have, and which an externally financed Basic Income would have, on some aspects of these variables. A classification of Basic Incomes at three different levels is used to guide the analysis: the ‘partial’, the ‘freedom-enhancing’, and the ‘emancipatory’ Basic Incomes.
Meghnad Desai, Ana Helena Palermo
Chapter 7. Ecological Effects of Basic Income
Howard, Pinto and Schachtschneider consider ecological arguments for a Basic Income. Environmental limits mean that economic growth might no longer be possible, and some argue that a Basic Income could afford economic security without continued economic growth. A Basic Income could facilitate work sharing, less energy-intensive work, reduced demand for wasteful positional goods, and experiments in living in the autonomous sector. Green growth strategies, including a carbon fee and dividend, are compared with degrowth strategies that call for an absolute decrease in consumption while including a Basic Income to avoid adverse impact on workers and the poor. The resulting redistribution, however, could increase carbon emissions. This means that Basic Income might require complementary policies, such as work time reduction, in order to reach ecological goals.
Michael W. Howard, Jorge Pinto, Ulrich Schachtschneider
Chapter 8. The Gender Effects of a Basic Income
Miller, Yamamori and Zelleke explore the gender effects of a Basic Income through a survey of feminist theories of distributive justice, critiques of the gendered effects of welfare state policies, welfare claimants’ movements in the UK and US, and empirical evidence from cash transfer pilots. They examine debates over the potential emancipatory effects of a Basic Income for women, concerns about its effects on the gendered division of labour, and evidence of increased well-being, especially for women and girls, exhibited by Negative Income Tax and cash transfer experiments. They conclude that the effects of a Basic Income are likely to be positive for women and men across a range of measures, while specific outcomes would depend on the details of any particular Basic Income scheme.
Annie Miller, Toru Yamamori, Almaz Zelleke

The Feasibility and Implementation of Basic Income

Chapter 9. Feasibility and Implementation
Torry asks whether a Basic Income would be feasible in relation to several types of feasibility:
  • financial (Would it be possible to finance a Basic Income? Would implementation impose substantial financial losses on households?)
  • psychological (Is the idea readily understood, and understood to be beneficial?)
  • administrative (Would it be possible to administer a Basic Income? Would it be possible to manage the transition?)
  • behavioural (Would a Basic Income work for people once it was implemented?)
  • political (Would the idea fit existing political ideologies?)
  • political process (Could Basic Income navigate the complex policy process from idea to implementation?)
The chapter asks how the different feasibilities are related to an overall feasibility, and it studies implementation options and asks which might more easily pass the feasibility tests.
Malcolm Torry
Chapter 10. Alternative Funding Methods
This chapter explores three different ways of funding a Basic Income. Lansley envisages funding Basic Incomes through a citizens’ wealth fund, financed by taxes on wealth, without the need to raise taxes on earned income. The fund could pay a citizen’s dividend, and then a Basic Income. Crocker proposes that governments should create money and pay it as a Basic Income in order to fill the gap between earned income and Gross Domestic Product (GDP). No additional inflation would result if the total amount of money did not exceed GDP. Andrade finds data to be joint creations of individuals, and he proposes that Basic Incomes should be financed by digital royalties charged on data generated by individuals and understood as an ambient intellectual property.
Julio Andrade, Geoff Crocker, Stewart Lansley
Chapter 11. Analysis of the Financial Effects of Basic Income
This chapter discusses the two most useful methods for analysing the financial effects of Basic Income schemes. Microsimulation modelling is the main empirical tool used to produce estimates of the costs and distributional impacts of Basic Income schemes. Reed explains how microsimulation modelling works by combining household survey data on incomes and characteristics across the population with information about how the tax and benefits system operates and about how the Basic Income scheme would operate. A worked example is offered. Torry then contributes a detailed analysis of another illustrative Basic Income scheme that retains and recalculates means-tested benefits. Morgan then applies a modelling scenario method to the same scheme in order to compare financial outcomes for some typical households.
Gareth Morgan, Howard Reed, Malcolm Torry
Chapter 12. Alternatives to Basic Income
This chapter studies four alternatives to Basic Income, apart from current means-tested and social insurance benefits. Leff describes the most substantial existing alternatives to Basic Income: the United States’ Earned Income Tax Credit. This is work-conditional, so it could never be a true substitute for a Basic Income, but it could be reformed to become more like one. Of the wide variety of currently unimplemented alternatives to Basic Income, Story discusses Negative Income Tax and finds that it would be difficult to administer; Percy discusses Universal Basic Services—an expansion of existing public services into additional policy fields—and finds them to be compatible with Basic Income; and Szlinder finds a job guarantee to be a generally unsatisfactory alternative.
Benjamin Leff, Andrew Percy, Michael Story, Maciej Szlinder
Chapter 13. Framing Basic Income: Comparing Media Framing of Basic Income in Canada, Finland, and Spain
Perkiö, Rincon and van Draanen contribute to the discussion of how Basic Income is communicated in public and political debates by seeking to understand how Basic Income is ‘framed’ in three national contexts where the issue has been widely debated. Drawing on an analysis of mainstream media discussion on Basic Income in Canada, Finland, and Spain, the chapter presents findings concerning the differences in the framing of Basic Income in the media on the one hand and in academic texts on the other. The chapter finds both similarities and striking differences in the media framing of Basic Income between the three countries.
Johanna Perkiö, Leire Rincon, Jenna van Draanen
Chapter 14. The Philosophy and Political Economy of Basic Income Revisited
Haagh examines to what extent the opportunity presented by growing public interest in Basic Income has enabled the debate to overcome long-standing contradictions between narrative claims and contextual reality. She argues that a neutralist case whereby Basic Income is proposed as a replacement for other instruments of social and economic regulation and security in society remains influential yet broadly untenable. The debate is still coming to terms with the contrast between lofty ambitions and real-world constraints. Haagh claims singular visions of economic governance have deep historical roots in Basic Income narrative, raising new thorny issues, and begging a need to conceptualise the practical role of Basic Income in broader terms. A global context of neo-liberal development and rising inequality sets the scene for a series of devil’s deals linked with a paradoxical relation between contemporary Basic Income ‘opportunity’ and structural crisis. To illustrate these issues Haagh employs an Institutional Political Economy (IPE) lens to identify how the integrity, feasibility, and effects of Basic Income hinge on wider conditions. She argues internal complementarity (integrity) is shaped by external complementarities linked with broader conditions of social equality, and this interaction is likely to be key in a Basic Income’s feasibility and broader effects.
Louise Haagh

Pilot Projects and Other Experiments

Chapter 15. The Negative Income Tax Experiments of the 1970s
Between 1968 and 1980, the US and Canadian Governments conducted five Negative Income Tax (NIT) experiments, which continue to have an important impact on the discussion of Basic Income. The first section of the chapter discusses the labour market effects of the NIT experiments of the 1970s; the second section non-labour-market effects; and the third section the difficulty of making an overall assessment of NIT or Basic Income on the basis of experimental findings. The fourth section discusses how the public reaction to the release of NIT experimental findings in the 1970s fell victim to spin and oversimplification, and the final section discusses how later reassessments of these experimental findings avoided many of these problems.
Karl Widerquist
Chapter 16. Citizen’s Basic Income in Brazil: From Bolsa Família to Pilot Experiments, with an Appendix: From Local to National: Mexico City and Basic Income, by Pablo Yanes
Silva and Lima discuss the Bolsa Família, a national targeted income transfer programme, intended as a first step towards a ‘Citizenship Basic Income’ (defined as a Basic Income sufficient for basic needs). They also describe pilot experiments in four municipalities across Brazil. They conclude that some of the characteristics of the experiments conflict with the definition of Basic Income, and that the experiments are limited, both in the size of the populations covered, and in the monetary value of the benefits. In the appendix, Yanes describes the implementation of an unconditional pension in Mexico, first in Mexico City, and now nationwide; and he recounts debates in the Mexico City Council that nearly resulted in a Basic Income appearing in the city’s constitution.
Maria Ozanira da Silva e Silva, Valéria Ferreira Santos de Almada Lima
Chapter 17. Basic Income by Default: Lessons from Iran’s ‘Cash Subsidy’ Programme
Karshenas and Tabatabai consider Iran’s nationwide, universal cash transfer programme, which was launched in December 2010 as compensation for massive cuts in subsidies that led to increased prices for energy and other basic products. The authors describe the unusual manner in which the programme emerged, and its potential lessons. Of particular interest is the impact on incomes and expenditures, labour supply, inflation, income distribution, and poverty, in the immediate aftermath of the launch of the programme, as well as its implications for similar schemes such as financing a UBI by carbon taxes. Given an extremely adverse broader environment however, the programme, while still continuing after eight years, has lost much of its lustre as the purchasing power of the transfers has been largely wiped out through inflation.
Massoud Karshenas, Hamid Tabatabai
Chapter 18. The Namibian Basic Income Grant Pilot
Haarmann, Haarmann and Nattrass describe the context, origin and development of the world’s first Basic Income pilot, located in Otjivero, Namibia. They discuss the evidence gathered and criticisms of the pilot and its assessment. They show that the Basic Income had an immediate impact on poverty, and particularly on child malnutrition, and that it fostered new small scale local economic activity. They suggest that the assumption that poor people are incapable of using a cash grant developmentally, and that the political elite is reluctant to adopt a social policy that would constitute a right, have resulted in a nationwide Basic Income not being implemented. Factual evidence will never be sufficient on its own. Only political will would enable a Basic Income to be implemented.
Claudia Haarmann, Dirk Haarmann, Nicoli Nattrass
Chapter 19. Pilots, Evidence and Politics: The Basic Income Debate in India
Davala describes the Basic Income pilot conducted in India between 2011 and 2013 by the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in collaboration with UNICEF. Across nine villages, about six thousand individuals were given a Basic Income for twelve to seventeen months. A modified Random Control Trial methodology was employed. The results showed that the Basic Income allowed poor people to make better choices about their livelihoods and employment, and that they ate better food, accessed better health care, and borrowed less, cultivated and produced more, and that several women became entrepreneurs. Since the project, interest in Basic Income has grown among Indian policy makers, to whom Basic Income’s administrative efficiency is attractive, as is Basic Income’s popularity with the electorate.
Sarath Davala
Chapter 20. The Finnish Basic Income Experiment: A Primer
De Wispelaere, Halmetoja and Pulkka describe how in 2015 a newly-elected centre-right coalition government committed to launching a Basic Income experiment. Since then, Finland has been propelled onto the global stage, and portrayed as one of the leaders in Basic Income policy development. The authors describe the specifics of the Basic Income experiment—its design and implementation features, the background to the government’s decision, and the several decades of public and political debate surrounding the Basic Income proposal that preceded that decision—and they reflect on the lessons to be learned for social security policy development in Finland, and in the wider Basic Income policy community.
Jurgen De Wispelaere, Antti Halmetoja, Ville-Veikko Pulkka
Chapter 21. A Variety of Experiments
This chapter discusses six initiatives: Groot and Verlaat find that among the roots of diverse Dutch experiments are behavioural insights and the Basic Income debate. Tahiraj describes Basic Income discourse in the Western Balkans, and the proposal for a Basic Income pilot project in Serbia. Yi discusses youth dividends, lottery projects, and other experiments in Korea, and the prospects for a more universal welfare system. Bollain finds that the diverse experiments in Barcelona are part of a municipal agenda that seeks to reduce poverty and inequalities. Miller reports on a feasibility study for Basic Income pilot projects in Scotland and on the Scottish Government’s involvement. Finally, Schmidt reports on the world’s first national referendum on Basic Income, the Swiss Initiative for an Unconditional Basic Income.
Julen Bollain, Loek Groot, Annie Miller, Enno Schmidt, Enkeleida Tahiraj, Timo Verlaat, Gunmin Yi

Political and Ethical Perspectives

Chapter 22. Libertarian Perspectives on Basic Income
Fleischer and Lehto make the case that libertarian principles can support universal, unconditional cash transfers in the form of a Basic Income. They explore Lockean libertarianism, classical liberalism, and left-libertarianism; and they argue that most strands of libertarianism support some (albeit limited) redistribution, though on varying grounds. They next demonstrate that once one accepts the legitimacy of redistribution in a libertarian world, unconditional cash transfers best reflect core libertarian principles. Firstly, such transfers further individual autonomy by recognising that all individuals—including the poor—are usually better judges of their own needs than the government. Secondly, decoupling redistributive transfers from work requirements acknowledges the inability of the government to exercise the requisite discretion to distinguish the ‘deserving’ from the ‘undeserving’ in a principled way.
Miranda Perry Fleischer, Otto Lehto
Chapter 23. Socialist Arguments for Basic Income
Casassas, Raventós and Szlinder set out from the position that the socialist tradition is heir to the main cornerstones of the old republican tradition, and they employ possible republican arguments for Basic Income to understand the socialist potential of Basic Income. They first analyse the republican social ontology—that is, the republican description of social life—and the resulting republican conceptualisation of freedom and democracy; and then they show why and how such a perspective helped and helps to shape socialist arguments and strategies for an emancipatory Basic Income for present-day societies. In the last section of the chapter they explore historical and institutional considerations about the political need and feasibility of emancipatory Basic Income schemes under contemporary circumstances.
David Casassas, Daniel Raventós, Maciej Szlinder
Chapter 24. Neither Left Nor Right
Martinelli and Chrisp assess the claim that Basic Income is ‘neither left nor right’ by addressing two main questions. Firstly, to what extent does Basic Income evade categorisation as left or right in conceptual terms? By examining both its policy design features, and its key principles and goals, they argue that Basic Income contains elements of both left- and right-wing thinking, but intractable policy design trade-offs are such that Basic Income is more accurately described as either left or right. Secondly, to what extent does Basic Income support derive from across the political spectrum as an empirical matter? Martinelli and Chrisp find that while there are cases of support on the right, parties and voters on the left are a more dependable source of support.
Joe Chrisp, Luke Martinelli
Chapter 25. Trade Unions and Basic Income
Henderson and Quiggin offer an analysis of labour movement attitudes towards Basic Income, with a focus on the type of Basic Income proposals that might win trade union support in the future. The chapter begins by describing the lack of trade union support for Basic Income. The authors argue that some unionists—and workers—view Basic Income as a wage subsidy that would undermine the goal of secure, well-paid work. The authors argue that advocates of Basic Income can hope to attract trade union support only if the policy is combined with an effective policy to end involuntary unemployment, and possibly with a job guarantee.
Troy Henderson, John Quiggin
Chapter 26. The Ethicsethics of Basic Income
Birnbaum suggests that many of the strongest arguments in debates on Basic Income are not primarily based on empirical evidence about its impact on widely shared objectives. Instead, they are driven by ethical convictions, reflecting conflicting views on the requirements of central values, such as humanity, utility, freedom, reciprocity, equal opportunity, or non-domination. Articulating and addressing such convictions, this chapter argues that arguments on (1) poverty prevention and well-being, (2) fairness and pre-distribution and, finally (3) the preconditions for citizens to interact as equals, offer three promising and complementary routes for showing that a well-designed Basic Income scheme is indeed ethically justified.
Simon Birnbaum

Concluding Chapter

Chapter 27. Tentative Conclusions
Tentative conclusions are drawn:
  • The Basic Income debate is increasingly extensive and deep;
  • Definitions must be clear;
  • Three questions characterise the current debate: Is Basic Income a good idea? Is it feasible? How would we implement it?
  • The questions need to be answered in every different context;
  • It will always be a particular Basic Income scheme that would or would not be a good idea, feasible, and implemented.
  • The prevailing political, social and policy context will largely determine the feasibility of Basic Income and the effects that it might have;
  • Further research is always required;
  • Every country needs a long-term institution to develop research and the debate ethos.
  • Implementation of Basic Income will be difficult, but the likely beneficial effects mean that the debate is worth pursuing.
Malcolm Torry
The Palgrave International Handbook of Basic Income
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Dr. Malcolm Torry
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