Universal Basic Income: Some Theoretical Aspects

Posted: 4 Sep 2019

See all articles by Maitreesh Ghatak

Maitreesh Ghatak

London School of Economics (LSE) - Department of Economics

Francois Maniquet

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 2019


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.

Suggested Citation

Ghatak, Maitreesh and Maniquet, Francois, Universal Basic Income: Some Theoretical Aspects (August 2019). Annual Review of Economics, Vol. 11, pp. 895-928, 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3445897 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-economics-080218-030220

Maitreesh Ghatak

London School of Economics (LSE) - Department of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
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HOME PAGE: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/adds/ghatak/cv-lse-sept02.pdf

Francois Maniquet (Contact Author)

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) ( email )

Place Montesquieu, 3
Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348

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