How to implement a Basic Income Guarantee?

January 8, 2019 by Anonymous

A series of recent pieces from CIRHR PhD student Kourtney Koebel, with Dr. Robin Boadway (Queen’s University) and Dr. Katherine Cuff (McMaster University) presents possibilities for the design and implementation of a Basic Income Guarantee in Canada.  

In “Designing a Basic Income Guarantee for Canada” in Federalism and the Welfare State in a Multicultural World, edited by Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant, Richard Johnston, Will Kymlicka and John Myles (available here as a Queen’s Economics Department Working Paper), Boadway, Cuff and Koebel present a proposal on how to finance and implement a basic income guarantee (BIG) in Canada: 

"We propose mechanism for implementing a two-stage harmonized Basic Income Guarantee with federal and provincial components.

"In Stage One, the federal government replaces its refundable and nonrefundable tax credits with an income-tested basic income delivered through the income tax system. The reform is revenue-neutral.

"In Stage Two, each province decides whether to implement a provincial basic income guarantee that is harmonized with the federal one but allows province-specific basic income levels.

"The provincial basic income replaces provincial refundable and nonrefundable tax credits as well as welfare and disability transfers, and is also revenue-neutral. All social services and contributory social insurance programs remain intact." 

In “Can Self-Financing Redeem the Basic Income Guarantee? Disincentives, Efficiency Costs, Tax Burdens, and Attitudes: A Rejoinder” in Canadian Public Policy, Boadway, Cuff and Koebel respond to concerns raised by Jonathan Rhys Kesselman (Simon Fraser University) about thier basic income proposal. A third paper appearing in the December issue of Canadian Public Policy, by Harvey Stevens and Wayne Simpson (University of Manitoba), also responds to Kesselman, creating a dialogue on basic income within the issue. 

Finally, “Implementing a Basic Income Guarantee in Canada: Prospects and Problems,” prepared for the Collaborative Applied Research in Economics initiative, Department of Economics, Memorial University,  November 14, 2018, draws on the previous two pieces to “outline the case for a basic income guarantee and characterize the alternative forms it could take.”