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Universal basic income: some theoretical aspects

Ghatak, Maitreesh and Maniquet, Franccedilois (2019) Universal basic income: some theoretical aspects. Annual Review of Economics, 11. pp. 895-928. ISSN 1941-1383

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Identification Number: 10.1146/annurev-economics-080218-030220


In this article, we review the desirability and feasibility of a universal basic income (UBI) scheme from the theoretical point of view. We first discuss the possible theoretical justifications of UBI, contrasting the unconditionality of UBI with the many conditions that typically accompany other welfare policies. These justifications range from pure normative reasons to practical reasons due to the problem of screening beneficiaries and imperfections in institutions in charge of implementing tax and welfare policies. Next, we explore the conditions that determine the feasibility and size of a UBI. The broad picture that emerges from our review is that both normative and practical considerations make UBI easier to defend as a tool of poverty alleviation in developing countries than as a tool to achieve social justice in developed ones.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2019 Annual Reviews
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
JEL classification: D - Microeconomics > D3 - Distribution > D31 - Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
D - Microeconomics > D6 - Welfare Economics > D63 - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
H - Public Economics > H2 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue > H24 - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
H - Public Economics > H3 - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents > H31 - Household
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I3 - Welfare and Poverty > I38 - Government Policy; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2019 09:18
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2021 16:45

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