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Volume 52, March/April 2017, Number 2 | pp. 74-80


On the Economics of a Universal Basic Income

Thomas Straubhaar

Universal basic income (UBI) is gaining momentum worldwide. Switzerland held a referendum on the introduction of a nationwide UBI (which it rejected) in 2016, Finland is currently testing it for some people, and India is considering replacing its welfare state with a UBI. The UBI is an unconditional cash payment that flows monthly from the state budget to everybody. It is transferred from public to private accounts throughout an entire lifetime, from birth to death, without any application or preconditions to be fulfilled by the beneficiary. It is supposed to cover the socio-cultural subsistence minimum. However, the determination of this minimum level of subsistence is a political and not an economic decision.


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