Wisdom from Martin Ravallion about universal basic income guarantee

Well-worth reading.  This discussion should be receiving more attention in the United States.

Whether we see universal BIGs in future or not, the current policy debates will hopefully lead us to be less reliant on finely targeted social policies that focus on avoiding leakage to the ‘non-poor’ yet rarely have the kind of information needed to do this credibly, are often based on an incomplete accounting of the costs incurred (not least by poor people), and end up excluding many who are in real need. In combination with more reliable personal identification systems, a retreat from the fine-targeting fetish we often see today toward more transparent forms of universality promises more socially inclusive, politically effective and more cost-effective antipoverty policies, not least in poor countries… A universal basic income at some decent level is not yet feasible in many countries. But more universality in service provision and social protection – and less fine targeting – would create better social policies.

Source: Arguments against basic income are straw men | VOX, CEPR’s Policy Portal

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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