ArticlePDF Available

Universal Basic Income and the Natural Environment: Theory and Policy


Abstract and Figures

We analyze the environmental implications of basic income programs through literature review, government documents, pilot studies, and interviews eliciting expert knowledge. We consider existing knowledge and then use a grounded approach to produce theory on the relationship between a basic income guarantee and environmental protection/damage. We find that very little empirical or theoretical work has been done on this relationship and that theoretical arguments can be made for both positive and negative environmental impacts. Ultimately, this implies, the environmental impact of a basic income program will be dependent on program design. These insights allow us to generate a toolkit of policy proposals to assist in the development of green basic income programs via either conditions, additions, or complements.
Content may be subject to copyright.
          
DE GRUYTER     
Timothy MacNeill1/ Amber Vibert1
Universal Basic Income and the Natural
Environment: Theory and Policy
               
 
We analyze the environmental implications of basic income programs through literature review, government
documents, pilot studies, and interviews eliciting expert knowledge. We consider existing knowledge and then
use a grounded approach to produce theory on the relationship between a basic income guarantee and en-
vironmental protection/damage. We nd that very little empirical or theoretical work has been done on this
relationship and that theoretical arguments can be made for both positive and negative environmental impacts.
Ultimately, this implies, the environmental impact of a basic income program will be dependent on program
design. These insights allow us to generate a toolkit of policy proposals to assist in the development of green
basic income programs via either conditions, additions, or complements.
Keywords: social policy, environmental policy, basic income, public policy, Social Welfare
DOI: 10.1515/bis-2018-0026
1 Introduction
Two of the most pressing global policy imperatives involve the simultaneous crises of inequality and environ-
mental degradation (UN, 2015). Basic Income Guarantees (BIGs) have increasingly been touted as a way to
address the crisis of inequality, especially given a presumed threat of increasing unemployment due to au-
tomation (Widerquist & Lewis, 2017), but how do these redistributive economic policies relate to the goal of
environmental sustainability?
In this paper, we analyze the environmental implications of a basic income guarantee, and generate a toolkit
of policy measures that may be used to support a green basic income. Specically, we explore four key questions:
1. How many published studies exist regarding the environmental impact of basic income programs, and what
do these works tell us?
2. To what extent are policy-makers, pilot-project designers, academics, and advocates considering environ-
mental considerations in their discussions on basic income?
3. What are the theoretical connections between basic income guarantees and the natural environment?
4. What are the possible policy conduits through which a basic income guarantee could be made environmen-
tally tenable?
A basic income guarantee (BIG) involves payments made by the government to individuals with the purpose
of assuring that no citizens income falls below a minimum income level. Minimum incomes are guaranteed
irrespective of employment status (Widerquist, 2018a). Basic income has also been referred to as a guaranteed
basic income (GBI) or guaranteed annual income (GAI). Universal basic income (UBI) is a variant of this con-
cept that denotes universal inclusivity, moving away from eligibility standards and negative social assistance
connotations (Widerquist, 2018a). Discussion regarding UBI is often broader, and more internationally focused,
but most fundamentally, a UBI is designed to assure that all citizens, rich or poor, receive the same allotted sum.
This universality is thought to bring incentive advantages since recipients do not risk loss should their
income increase. In the interest of social justice, UBI plans generally propose the use of progressive taxation to
claw back much of the guarantee from the most wealthy citizens. In practice, the distinction between BIGs and
UBIs is often obfuscated by the inclusion of plans to gradually reduce the benet as income increases in both
scenarios (Mencinger, 2017; Heydorn, Pinwill, Watson, & Klinck, 2018). In this paper, we use the acronyms BIG
and UBI where appropriate and BI where the discussion could apply to either term.
Timothy MacNeill    
     
          
   DE GRUYTER
Methodologically, we will evaluate the state of BI thought via a survey of related literature, an examination
of environmental considerations incorporated into expired and existing basic income pilots, and an analysis
of qualitative knowledge elicited from 60 BI experts. Although the elicitation of expert knowledge has been
a common research method in social sciences and policy studies, care must be taken in selection of experts,
and interpretation of responses (Beyers, Braun, Marshall, & De Bruycker, 2014; Bogner, Lettig, & Menz, 2009).
Experts are often considered crystallization pointsof large amounts of information and therefore a valuable
entry point to understanding the object of their expertise (Bogner etal., 2009, p. 3). Recently, the traditional
denition of expert has been expanded in politics and policy-related studies to include members of civil society
and those who may experience policy impacts as part of everyday life (Collins & Evans, 2007). Accordingly,
we elicited knowledge not only from traditional academic policy experts, but also recipients of basic income
funding and community advocates of basic income programs.
Although expert information is valuable, it is also important to recognize that it may be incomplete and/or
biased (Bogner etal., 2009). Accordingly, Beyers etal. (2014) suggest information be cross-veried. We do this
in two main ways. First using a concise open-ended two-question panel group format, we were able to elicit
knowledge from a large number of experts (60) in a short period of time and observe the extent of agreement or
disagreement between them. Second, eorts were made to seek out published research that may substantiate
or contradict expert claims. Since little research has been done on the environment/basic-income intersect, this
involved the examination of similar research problems in elds exterior to basic income studies.
The analysis of expert knowledge was undertaken via investigation of 107 abstracts for presentations at the
North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress (NABIG) in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 2018. NABIG was
chosen since it is an agglomeration point of academics, policy-makers, and community advocates from across
the world. In addition, 60 NABIG presentations (17 panels) were attended. These were selected according to
which were most relevant to environmental concerns. Notes were taken on any environment-related content,
and their authors were asked questions related to the state of basic income and environment research and
possibilities of creating an environmentally sustainable basic income guarantee. Specically, all panelists (as a
group), were asked the following two questions:
1. Are you aware of any pilot projects that have incorporated environmental concerns?
2. Do you believe that we should be worried about possible environmental impacts and design basic income
strategies to mitigate these impacts?
These questions generated vigorous debate in many panels. To clarify the opinions expressed at NABIG, we
also followed up with email queries to 19 experts that presented at the conference.
The analysis of these qualitative data is meant rst to ascertain the level of theoretical and empirical un-
derstanding that currently exists either via published work or active thought in the eld. Second, the goal is
to use a grounded theory approach (Richards & Farrokhnia, 2016) to create understandings regarding the re-
lation between basic income and environmental protection/damage. A critical reading of our data also allows
us to ascertain ideological predispositions that BIG experts share around topics such as personal freedom, gov-
ernment control, and the importance of addressing environmental issues. The resulting insights allow us to
generate a toolkit of policy proposals that may assist in the nurturance of a green BIG.
2 The state of literature and knowledge on BI and environment
As Table 1 indicates, currently there is a wealth of literature on basic income and basic income related stud-
ies. Research on environmental implications associated with a basic income guarantee are, however, severely
limited. Based on a ProQuest search, since 2013, there has been no mention of ecological issues in the title or
abstract of articles discussing universal basic income and environment,guaranteed basic income and en-
vironmentor basic income guarantee and environment.Similarly, no direct mention of ecological issues
appears via a search of the top 100 academic journal articles on GBI, UBI, or BIG without date of publication
restriction. A more laborious investigation included backward and forward bibliographical searches, no date
restriction, and scrutiny of papers that do not explicitly mention environment but feature topics that could be
relevant to the environment such as consumptionor food security.This yielded only 8 published works.
By contrast, a ProQuest title and abstract search for articles on UBI, BIG, and GBI yielded, without consideration
of the environment, 1168 results. Thus, less than 1% of published academic journal articles on basic income
have addressed the natural environment, and none have since 2010.
          
DE GRUYTER   
Table 1: Published Research on Basic income and the Environment.
Search terms used Scope Date range Titles found
BIG & environment Title/abstract 01/01/201301/10/2018 0
GBI & environment Title/abstract 01/01/201301/10/2018 0
UBI & environment Title/abstract 01/01/201301/10/2018 0
BIG & environment Title/abstract of top 100 Any Date 0
BIG, GBI, or UBI &
Entire Document Any date 8
UBI, BIG, GBI Title/abstract Any Date 1168
Interestingly, all of these 8 relevant articles emerge from one source a special edition volume of the journal
Basic Income Studies in 2010. Key works in this volume are Andersson (2010), Birnbaum (2010), Boulanger
(2010), Calder (2010), Fitzpatrick (2010), and Van Parijs (2010). The edition contains articles calling for a basic
income studies to incorporate a political ecology paradigm (Van Parijs, 2010). Some work also describes basic
income to be part of a larger societal move toward post-productivism as increased individual economic security
may reduce the need for economic and consumption growth (Birnbaum, 2010). The volume contains nuanced
and thoughtful theoretical speculations on the environment and basic income relationship. The largest point
made by the authors in the volume is that basic income pilot projects, theoretical works, and empirical studies
must incorporate environmental concerns in the future. Evidenced by the lack of published academic journal
articles on basic income and the environment since 2010, this call remains unanswered in the most strictly
academic venues.
This is not to say that there has been no concern or valuable contribution on the topic from basic income
experts, or that researchers of ecological economics are uninterested in BI. Such concern has been recently ex-
pressed in books and book chapters, despite being absent from academic journals. Notable books on ecological
economics have advocated for BI (DAlisa, Demaria, & Kallis, 2014; Raworth, 2017). Similarly, a chapter by
Johanna Perkiö (2015) on BI appears in an important anthology on ecosocialism. Perkiö, along with French-
Language works associated with André Gorz (Vercellone, 2019) and (Mylondo, 2018), suggests that an income
guarantee can only be expected to have positive environmental impacts when it is set at a subsistence level,
due to concerns with overconsumption. These contributions suggest that a BI would eectively acknowledge
and compensate unpaid, but socially valuable, work such as civic engagement, care work, or environmental
stewardship and that it would provide an egalitarian base that, these authors suggest, is essential to building
a green economy.
In addition to appearances in ecological economics texts, similar arguments have also been made in books
by BI advocates. Numerous contributions in a prominent anthology relate BI to post-productivist ideals that
privilege disposable time over disposable income (Widerquist, Noguera, Vanderborght, & De Wispelaere, 2013).
Although not always made explicit, such post-productivism implies less consumption, and therefore lower
ecological impact. This connection is made explicitly by Van Parijs in that volume. Standing (2017) reiterates
such insights, and adds that a BI might reduce the need to engage in commuting for work. He also suggests
that a BI could be used as compensation for those who may lose formal employment, or who may be aected
by price increases, related to environmental measures such as carbon taxes. Arguments that relate BI with
degrowth and other environmental policy also appear various times in Van Parijs and Vanderborghts (2017)
book Basic Income: A radical proposal for a free society and a sane economy. Non-English-language journal articles
have also linked BI with a green economy (Arnsperger, 2015; Pinto, 2018; Vercellone, 2019).
Of the 107 presentations by academics, politicians, policy-makers, community advocates, and BIG recipients
at NABIG, seven (6.5%) explicitly addressed the environment. These presentations included James Mulvales
Making the Green Case for Basic Income, Peter JosephsBasic Income as a Step Towards Sustainable Economic Systems,
Michael HowardsEcological Case for Basic incomes, Brian MilanisBasic Income in the New Security: Regenerative
Development and the Economics of Abundance, and Basic Income, Sustainable Food Practices, and Post-Consumerism
by Timothy MacNeill and Amber Vibert.
This is a much larger representation than appears in academic literature alone. One possible reason for
this is that there is a lag due to long publication timelines at a time when both inequality and environmental
degradation have ascended as critical global problems. It would not be unrealistic to expect books, chapters,
and/or articles on basic income and the environment in the near future from James Mulvale, Brian Milani,
and others that are inspired by their work. Michael Howard has recently been interviewed on the topic in the
Green European Journal (Pinto & Howard, 2018), and may produce/inspire a more formal paper in the future.
Alyssa Battistoni may synthesize her insightful (2014) piece on BI and basic income from Jacobin magazine with
academic work in closely allied spheres (Battistoni, 2017), producing a valuable formal academic work study.
In Canada, a colloquium on green basic income is being organized by James Mulvale, Brian Milani and others,
with the hope that this will stimulate research and collaboration.
          
   DE GRUYTER
A major diiculty in producing journal articles on the topic, however, is that the relation between BI and
environmental behaviours are diicult to measure given the limited nature of BI pilots. Concern for the issue
may have outpaced our ability to measure the relationship in a replicable, veriable way. Methodological inno-
vations may be on the horizon to address this problem. Researchers in experimental and behavioral economics
have been largely successful applying experimental methods both in the lab and in the eld (Kagel & Roth,
2016). This includes the use of largescale randomized control studies in development economics (Peters, Lang-
bein, & Roberts, 2018). Such studies, designed to study behavior under conditions of basic income provision,
might oer valuable insights in the absence of an institutionalized regional BIG or UBI.
There is not an up-to-date or denitive published list of basic income pilots. The website
includes descriptions of many projects currently and historically undertaken, but is not exhaustive. Widerquist
(2018a) also contains references to a large number of projects and experiments. Along with the questions posed
during the 2018 NABIG congress, we used follow-up interviews via email correspondence with those BI experts
to compile a list of projects. There were ve pilots in Canada and the US in the 1970s, including Mincome in
Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada; additionally there was one in Namibia (BIG Basic Income Grant) from 2008 to
2010; and one in India (MPUCT Madhya Pradesh Unconditional Cash Transfers Project) from 2011 to 2013;
Davala, Jhabvala, Standing, & Mehta, 2015). There were recent BIG pilots in Ontario, Canada in the regions
of Hamilton, Brantford, Brant Country region, Thunder Bay and the surrounding area, and Lindsay, but these
have been cancelled due to a change in provincial government. BIG pilots have also been enacted in Quatinga
Velho, Brazil; Finland; Livorno, Italy; Fort Portal region, Uganda; Barcelona; Kenya and Iran (McFarland, 2017;
Murphy, 2017). There are also pilot programs that are planned for the future in Prince Edward Island, Canada;
Utrecht, the Netherlands; Fife and Glasgow, Scotland; India; France; California; and Mexico.
Very few of these pilot projects have considered environmental impact in their design. Such environmentally
aware BIG pilots, if they exist, are not discussed in academic literature, nor were any NABIG panelists aware of
them. Some projects, however, do contain measures that may provide indirect and incomplete data on potential
environmental impacts. The Ontario pilots included research on time use and volunteering, which may yield
some understandings on the impacts of behavioral changes due to BI. The Y-Combinator (2017) proposal in
California contains similar measures. Other projects, such as those in Brazil and the Netherlands (which we
will discuss later in detail), add conditional environmental components, although they cannot be considered
proper BIGs or UBIs due to those conditionalities.
Karl Widerquist (2018b) has suggested that pilots and trials are not expansive enough to incorporate en-
vironmental impact. Since pilots tend to be very small and, by design, restricted to only some impoverished
members of society, their overall environmental impact is diicult or impossible to measure. Kate McFarland
(2018), a plenary presenter from NABIG and former editor of Basic Income News agreed with this assessment.
She insisted that we have to answer two fundamental questions: Will UBI result in more economic growth,
employment and consumption? Or will it result in people engaging in less, consumeristic, material activities?
Unfortunately, her assessment is that pilot studies are not currently expansive enough to measure these things.
3 Theories of negative environmental impacts of basic income
Most experts of basic income that we consulted for this study were deeply concerned about environmental
issues in general. Some insisted that BI and environment be treated as separate issues, but most admitted that
there could be negative consequences associated with the BIG. Most of these concerns were focused on the dan-
ger of increasing overall consumption levels, but some were concerned that the individualistic nature in which
basic income may be dispersed might undermine collective institutions that are important for environmental
3.1 Increased consumption
There is reason to be concerned that a universal basic income could negatively aect the ecosystem. This point
has been acknowledged by most theoretical research on the relation between BIG and the environment (An-
dersson, 2010; Boulanger, 2010), and all of the BIG advocates we consulted for this research recognized this
potential issue as well. Recent studies have found that the environmental impacts of nations consistently rise
with per capita income (Aşıcı& Acar, 2016; Uden, Salhuddin, Alam, & Gow, 2017). Income has also been found
to be the main determinant of greenhouse gas emissions on an individual and household level. This income ef-
fect is so strong that it tends to statistically overwhelm pro-environment behavioral change even for those who
self-identify as eco-conscious (Ivanova etal., 2018). This implies that it is not how we consume that determines
the bulk of our personal environmental impact, but how much we consume. This is concerning since our total
          
DE GRUYTER   
consumption is strongly tied to income. Furthermore, the marginal propensity to consume (MPC) the amount
of each additional dollar of income we use for consumption instead of savings is lower for those who are on
the high end of a countrys wealth distribution (Carroll, Slacalek, Tokuoka, & White, 2017).
These understandings lead to an uncomfortable insight regarding the potential environmental impact of
basic income strategies. That insight is that even if basic income were enacted via a direct redistribution of
income from the wealthiest quintiles to the poorest with no net increase in total income per capita, we could
still expect a negative environmental impact via increased consumption due to dierentials in the MPC.
This tension between poverty eradication and environmental degradation is so troublesome that it has been
acknowledged in a discussion paper by OXFAM one of the worlds largest non-governmental poverty reduc-
tion organizations (Raworth, 2012). The paper argues that poverty alleviation that is achieved without consid-
ering environmental consequences would push the biosphere beyond the limits necessary to sustain human
civilization as we currently know it. Hubacek, Baiocchi, Feng, and Patwardhan (2017) report a similar nding
regarding carbon emissions. Eradicating poverty through a basic income guarantee is not exactly the same as
reducing it via economic growth. However, there have been no studies on the relation between basic income
and consumption, so we must assume that consumption-based impacts would be similar to other forms of
poverty reduction all other things being equal.
A useful study has been produced on the consumption impacts of Alaska Permanent Fund (APF) annuities.
APF annuity payments are not strictly a basic income program since they are not large enough to assure that
basic needs are covered. They are a universal income supplement, however, as they are yearly dividend checks
based on investment returns from the APF (which was originally establish with oil royalties). This annuity,
which is usually approximately $2000, is distributed to every Alaskan citizen. The only published journal article
on consumption and the APF has found that the MPC related to the APF is no dierent from that of any other
form of income in all US states (Hsieh, 2003). The study nds that income from the APF increases individual
consumption irrespective of the income bracket to which the individual belongs. A later book on the same topic
reiterated these ndings (Goldsmith, 2012). Thus, if we can take evidence from the APF fund as an exemplar
of what to expect from consumption via a BIG, we can expect signicant ecological impacts through increased
overall consumption.
3.2 Undermining collective institutions
Canadian Indigenous leaders consulted for this research, and present at NABIG, were also concerned about
the environmental problems associated with increased consumption. In addition, they were concerned that
environmental protection could be undermined if a BIG were to be implemented in a way that undermined
collective institutions and indigenous culture. The North Shore Tribal Council (NSTC) surveyed members of
34 First Nations in Northern Ontario, Canada as part of a community consultation on basic income. Despite
promises of more money per person, the idea of direct cash transfers from a provincial government to individual
did not resonate well with indigenous interviewees. The NSTC (2017) report expressed concerns that a BIG
simply would represent a shift from one form of dependency to another(p. 2). The report continues:
[T]he historical shift to dependence on the welfare system has been a big factor in the now acknowledged under-
mining of First Nation culture and communityIt has also been of concern that the welfare system is rooted in
western individualismwhich runs counter to and has negatively aected First Nations as communities and the
holistic Anishnawbe wayof living (p. 2).
The Indigenous perspective, at least in the Canadian context, has long been that poverty alleviation requires
investment in community resources and capacities. This, as argued in the NSTC report,
would ensure that the negative impacts that this dependence was inicting on our cultures, communities, families
and individual members be minimized; and that a holistic movement toward nancial independence and individual,
family and community healing be initiated[M]any First Nations [recently] began a process of shifting the focus
of their social assistance programs precisely from individualized hand out to community-based hand up. Which
resulted in increasing success in terms of personal and community development to date (p. 2).
In a round-table on the indigenous perspective at NABIG, the four members of the NSTC that were present
characterized the concept of basic income paid to individuals as just another form of colonialism.A commu-
nity member quoted in the NSTC (2017) report argued that the BI favours further individualization as opposed
to the community-mindedness of many First Nations, and this community-mindedness needs to be constantly
reinforced(p. 9).
According to Richer, Wemigwans, Agawa Ge-Nad-Mo-Wit, and Boissoneau (2018) of the NSTC, the under-
mining of community that could come with a BI program also weakens environmental initiatives since these are
          
   DE GRUYTER
rooted in cooperation and a collective culture. For example, a NSTC attempt to establish a distribution system
of locally harvested, environmentally sustainable food depends on pooled community resources and cooper-
ation on many levels. If social payments are transformed to cash installments received by individuals, such
initiatives for sustainable community development could be undermined. This, claims Richer, could result in
the increased import of expensive and environmentally damaging canned foods and potato chips instead of
the establishment of the sustainable local food system toward which the NSTC aspires.
It is important to underline that the NSTC does not reject the notion of a BIG. Instead, they advocate, as
one community member put it, for more of a community rather than a client-based program(NSTC, 2017).
This may be an important lesson for BIG advocates. Basic income is simultaneously a collectivist idea and one
that privileges individual freedom of choice over the paternalism of experts and governing bodies. In certain
situations, however, this focus on individual freedom may undermine collective elements of cultures and com-
munities, threatening their ability to solve environmental and other problems. The lesson is that community-
based anti-poverty programs may be more appropriate than individual-based ones in some cases. This has
increased salience where ecological issues are concerned. Since solutions to environmental problems tend to
require coordinated action, individualistic BIG programs may be ill suited to produce them.
More empirical and theoretical work is needed to address these concerns. The cultural implications of indi-
vidualistic BI discourse is one area in which research could be expanded. This may need to be integrated with
classic arguments on the eicacy of collective action in solving environmental problems (Wall, 2014).
4 Theories of positive environmental impacts of basic income
Although the possible negative environmental impacts of a BIG are recognized by most BIG advocates, many
also identify potential for positive impacts. Some argue that ecological sustainability may improve as a BIG
induces changes in time use and consumption patterns. Others argue that a BIG would support more envi-
ronmentally sustainable and healthy food production and consumption practices and that this can have both
direct and indirect environmental benets.
4.1 Time-use and consumption
Time use and consumption may be impacted in several positive ways by a BIG. As Andersson (2010) has argued,
since residents of wealthy countries consume far more environmental resources than those in poor countries,
any policy that reduces migration from the latter to the former, should have a positive environmental impact. A
BIG applied to the poorest countries would reduce the need to migrate in attempt to escape poverty, avoiding
the continued transformation of low-impact humans to high-impact ones.
A common proposition is that income security generated by a BIG would reduce status-based conspicuous
consumption as the stigma attached to poverty is decreased (Boulanger, 2010; Young & Mulvale, 2009). This,
it is argued, can lead to a reduction in working hours as less goods are required to achieve an acceptable level
of consumption, and ultimately to lower environmental impact (Lewis & Widerquist, 2009; Birnbaum, 2010;
Calder, 2010). Furthermore, some, such as Conrad Shaw argue that a BIG would increase the ability of the
poor to purchase higher quality, longer-lasting, and ethicalgoods, and this may have positive environmental
outcomes (personal communication, June 21, 2018).
A related benet, as Birnbaum (2010) has argued, would be a change in attention from material consump-
tion to other opportunities that are pro-social. This could expand community-based provisions, volunteer work,
cultural and sports activities and thus, more sustainable and resource-eicient routes to well-being (Birnbaum,
2010). In support of this, Elliot Rossiter highlighted the potential positive outcomes of basic income on sustain-
ability through:
Giving people more time with which to engage in sustainable practices, supporting social entrepreneurship aimed
at sustainability, allowing people the ability to resist unsustainable business practices by refusing to take certain
jobs, and other possible positive outcomes associated with people having more time and security (personal com-
munication, July 4, 2018).
Since there have been no studies of the relation between BIGs and such consumption dynamics, we must be
careful to position such opinions as theoretical claims, as opposed to empirical ones. Such assertions have a long
intellectual history, stemming from Veblens (1994[1899]) Theory of the Leisure Class. Boyce (1994) and Scruggs
(1998), have notably documented a general empirical connection between inequality, consumption, and envi-
ronmental degradation. Some studies, however, have cast doubt on the assumption that increasing equality will
          
DE GRUYTER   
decrease environmental damage through a consumption eect in all cases. As we previously noted, Ivanova
etal. (2018) have found that the environmental benets of green consumption can be outweighed by negative
income eects that increase overall consumption levels. Furthermore, there is some evidence that equality may,
in some cases, increase, instead of decrease competitive consumption. In a laboratory experiment, Ordabayeva
and Chandon (2011) found that individuals who were primed with a competition-evoking statement such as
success is a relative concept,tended to increase competitive consumption as economic equality increased.
Those who were primed with a statement that minimized interpersonal comparisons, such as true happiness
comes from withintended to reduce their competitive consumption in the same situation. This suggests that
consumption reactions to income transfers may dier with social and cultural context.
Josephine Grey, a community leader from Torontos OASIS Climate Resilient Foodhub project explained
her support of a BIG by highlighting the relationship between time and the organization of community-based
environmental eorts that she believes to exist in her context:
I do indeed believe a basic income would allow [people] to spend time learning, gathering, organizing and engag-
ing in positive constructive activities, from gardening to eco-social projects and commit more time and resources
to developing community ownership of life sustaining projects (personal communication, June 20, 2018).
Anecdotal evidence from six recipients from the Ontario Basic Income Pilot (OBIP) substantiates Greys claims.
All reported having more time to do community and volunteer work as a BIG recipient compared with
when they were on more conventional forms of assistance previously (Ontario Pilot Participants, 2018). Dave
Cherkewski, a BIG recipient, reports having increased his community involvement as a result of basic income,
working toward initiatives such as a work co-op, community mental health services, and anti-poverty advo-
cacy, for example. I have more energy,explains Cherkewski, to volunteer with the Council of Canadians,
and with my church(quoted in Pearson, 2018). Similarly, Lisa Hart claims that a BIG has allowed her to do
something valuable for the communityas a volunteer general operations supervisor for a local museum. An-
other recipient, Dana Bowman, claims that the BIG has helped her to take social work classes and volunteer at
a community garden (Bergstein, 2018).
Scott Wemigwans (2018), of the North Shore Tribal Council has oered an indigenous perspective on the
relation between BIG (whether universal or otherwise) and community involvement. Considering the environ-
ment specically, Wemigwans suggested that more resources could reduce the economic compulsion to enter
the formal Westernized work and consumption-based economy,allowing a return to our practices related to
nature. Wemigwans argues that this relates to a wide variety of practices such as growing, harvesting, caretak-
ing of the land, and assisting elders. In the youth participatory workshop run at NABIG, a similar perspective
was reiterated some form of BI may provide the time and material resources needed for reconciliation and
cultural healing within indigenous communities, leading to environmental regeneration as well.
Since much care and community work is done by women (Bidegain Ponte & Rodriguez Enriquez, 2016),
there is an important gender equality aspect to this issue. A BIG would not only assure more economic secu-
rity for those who carry out such work, but may reduce the work burden placed on women as more men are
able to eschew low paid work for increased family and community involvement (Bidegain Ponte & Rodriguez
Enriquez, 2016). Such time use democratization can be tied to the promotion of environmental sustainability,
since it shifts social value from material consumption-promoting wage work to presumably environmentally
and socially benecial behaviours such as care work, maker/recycler cultures, or community and political in-
volvement. As some point out, such a shift may not be an automatic outcome of a BIG, but it is at least a possible
outcome (Fitzpatrick, 2010).
4.2 Food consumption and production
Some have argued that a BIG could inspire changes in food practices that could have pro-environment eects.
This could initiate a virtuous cycle as a cleaner natural environment can promote human health (Northridge,
Sclar, & Biswas, 2003), which can provide funds from reduced healthcare costs, which could then be reinvested
in environmental protection. NABIG participant Yv Bonnier Viger of the Universite Laval, in her presentation
Basic Income and Public Health(2018) argued that health is dependent on the satisfaction of basic needs, thus
when basic needs are not being fullled, health is negatively impacted. According to the Nutritious Food Basket
Report (2016), an annual report that measures the cost of healthy eating in Sudbury, Ontario, for example,
families with limited income struggle with rent, bills, and healthy eating often compromising healthy eating
to pay for other expenses. Accordingly, Elliot Rossiter (personal communication, July 4, 2018), suggests that a
BI could increase peoples capabilities to improve their own health through diet and lifestyle changes. A main
nding from the MINCOME experiment documented by Forget (2011) corroborates this. The study showed
that BIG correlated with a decrease in physician visits and hospitalization, particularly regarding mental health
          
   DE GRUYTER
This relationship was highlighted during a NABIG presentation on public health by Vanessa Parlette of the
City of Hamilton Public Health Services, and Lisa Simon of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (2018).
Both suggested that food security specically contributes to improved physical and mental health outcomes.
Studies consistently link household foodinsecurity to an increase in the utilization of health care services (Segal,
2016; Tarasuk et al., 2015A). Jane Shrestha of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and Ontario Dieticians
in Public Health, claims that this results in a 121% increase in healthcare costs in the Canadian context. An
overarching problem, according to Shrestha, is that food insecurity cannot be solved by [increasing the avail-
ability of] food,and therefore income increasing and stabilizing solutions such as a BIG need to be put in place.
In Simcoe Muskoka, for example, one in eight households are food insecure, and those with food insecurity
face diicultly participating in their communities due to poorer physical and mental health. This isolation, in
turn, exacerbates mental health problems (Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, 2017), which are linked to
physical health problems (CIHI, 2008). If, as Parlette, Simon, and Shrestha (2018), and Tarasuk etal. (2015A)
all suggest, income support such as a BI would reduce healthcare costs, these savings could be redirected into
environmental protection.
There has been no published empirical study on the lifestyle and dietary changes as the result of BI pro-
grams. However, studies have found the increasing of unconditional seniors benets to improve physical and
mental health, and decrease food insecurity by 50% for those 65 and older (Emery, Fleischb, & McIntyre, 2013;
McIntyre, Kwok, Emery, & Dutton, 2016). Emery etal. (2013) have argued, that a BIG implemented the way
that pension benets are distributed to seniors could potentially produce net scal savings through reduced
government healthcare spending, in addition to a reduction in food bank and homeless shelter use.
Studies have cited cost as a major barrier to sustainable food consumption. Goods such as local, sustainably-
grown fruits and vegetables tend to be more expensive than high calorie, pre-packaged, junk foods (Freibauer
etal., 2011). Not only does this cost act as a barrier to positive health outcomes, it discourages sustainable food
purchase as well (European Commission, 2012). Even where price is not a barrier to sustainable eating, time-
constraints, habits, and knowledge can be. Since sustainable eating often involves reductions in pre-packaged
foods, it can require increased time for food preparation and self-education on environmental impacts of food
choices. Changes in food habits similarly require time commitment and information or knowledge acquisition
eorts (European Commission, 2012). Many experts that we consulted for this study including academics,
BI recipients, participants in the youth workshop, and in the indigenous roundtable argued that a BIG may
provide the time and money that would allow for increasingly sustainable food consumption practices.
Some anecdotal evidence from BIG recipients does support such claims. Recipients speaking at NABIG
(Ontario pilot participants, 2018) reported changes such as signicantly less depression, spending less time
and money on healthcare treatment, having more money to buy healthy food and vitamins and less processed
foods, and having more money and time for exercise. One participant of the Hamilton, Ontario BIG project,
for example, explained that while living in poverty growing up, she had a lack of knowledge about vegetables
and was never taught how to cook them. Basic income allowed for this participant to have the time and money
to learn how to cook nutritious foods. This may be an important qualitative insight into a mechanism through
which BI reduces healthcare costs.
Irrespective of its impact on health, food production and consumption have direct environmental impacts
that could be augmented via a BIG. The food system is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emis-
sions, deforestation, desertication, eutrophication, and biodiversity loss (Goggins & Rau, 2016). These impacts
relate to an increased reliance on environmentally damaging international transport, refrigeration, and indus-
trial petro-chemical-based production techniques (Clark & Tilman, 2017). Although there are controversies
regarding the accounting of sectoral impacts (Jones etal., 2016), some analyses have shown that the livestock
industry alone may have the largest ecological impact of any human sector (Herrero etal., 2013). Accordingly,
solutions to environmental crises often include the support of local production, fairly traded goods, sustain-
able farming practices, and reduced meat consumption (Goggins & Rau, 2016). Many experts argued that a BIG
could stimulate such pro-environment food practices by increasing the money and time resources of individu-
Some have also claimed that environmentally sustainable production could be directly stimulated by pro-
viding a basic income for farmers. Aric McBay (2018), of the National Farmers Union of Ontario (NFUO), pro-
poses a BIG pilot that is specically allocated to farmers in order to study this relationship. Urgency the NFUO
has for this pilot proposal is driven by the increasing challenges facing the population of farmers. These in-
clude the rising price of farmland which deters young people from farming, an aging farm population with no
succession plans, extreme weather conditions, and corporate control of the food system.
McBay argues that farmers who may want to market high-quality, sustainably-produced foods are often
compelled to integrate into the more environmentally damaging agro-industrial system to survive. Ivanova
(2018) similarly highlights the increasing diicultly that farmers face sustaining livable incomes in Canada,
and Dixon, Gibbon, Gulliver, and Hall (2001) have shown that this is a global phenomenon. McBay and the
          
DE GRUYTER   
NFUO argue that a basic income would provide income that farmers can invest in sustainable production and
allow them to avoid environmentally harmful practices that they may be compelled to follow due to the com-
pulsion to avoid poverty. Accordingly, an increased supply of sustainably produced foods may reduce prices
of these goods to consumers, making environmentally sustainable food consumption more aordable. The
French Movement for Basic Income has made a similar call for BI as an integral part of supporting ecologically
sustainable local food production (MFRB, 2018).
5 Policies to promote positive environmental impacts
Although there are many theories that intrinsically link a basic income to either positive or negative environ-
mental outcomes, there is very little direct empirical evidence to support any of these claims. In absence of
certainty about such impacts, it is reasonable to ask if basic income programs could be adjusted in ways that
reduce their potential environmental impacts and/or amplify potential environmental benets. There are three
main ways that policy could be designed toward this end: through conditions,additions, or complements.
5.1 Conditions
Conditions could be attached to the receipt of basic income funds. For example, part of basic income payments
could be made in the form of vouchers for locally produced sustainable food, or public transit. Such policy
suggestions do not appear in English-language academic journals, however Arnsperger (2015) does make an
argument that a UBI be introduced as a complementary currency (which is exactly what a voucher is). Sugges-
tion of conditions, however, were adamantly rejected by all experts consulted for this research at NABIG and
via personal correspondence. This is not surprising, since, both BIGs and UBIs are premised on uncondition-
ally. In reality, adding conditions changes the meaning of a BIG or UBI, necessitating the use of a dierent label
Conditional Minimum Income (CMI) will be used in the remainder of this paper.
For many advocates, a CMI would undermine a main premise of a UBI or BIG a commitment to personal
freedom of recipients and aversion to paternalistic behavior management on the part of the state. This value
attached to personal freedom is not only an ethical decision. As Sheila Regehr (personal communication, June
25, 2018) points out, studies have shown a negative relationship between health outcomes and the restriction
of the sense of controlpeople have over their lives (Rodin, 1986).
In addition, as Kourtney Koebel, points out, mandating green consumption as a condition for receipt of
minimum incomes incorrectly relies on the assumption that local markets [for green products] are easily ac-
cessible to recipients of the [minimum] income(personal communication, June, 2018). There are also serious
inequality concerns, as expressed by Chris Wiebe:
Ultimately, I dont think that there should be environmental incentives/conditions attached to the basic income
because I dont think that environmental policies should target the poor. I think wealthier people are generally greater
contributors to carbon emissions, and are more capable of paying more money for electric cars, organic/local food,
or whatever products may be incentivized as part of an environmental policy (personal communication, July 3,
The Bolsa Família social welfare project in Brazil is an example of a CMI project that may have had some success,
however. That program provides a cash transfer that is limited to impoverished families under the condition that
their children attend school and take preventative health care steps such as vaccinations. Benetting 48 million
recipients by 2015, results of the Bolsa Família program are promising (ILO, 2015). Research and government
reports have suggested that the program has increased preventative healthcare service utilization, improved
health and nutrition, increased school attendance, and helped decrease poverty (Báez, Rodilla, Sharman, &
Viveros, 2015; Shei, 2014; Wetzel, 2013).
With its exclusive focus on impoverished segments, family-based instead of individual-based distribution,
and conditions around preventative health care and education, the Bolsa Família CMI is very dierent from a
BIG or UBI. Although there is no evidence suggesting that Bolsa Família has reduced employment levels, its
restriction to those in poverty does imply a built-in disincentive to work that is not present in the UBI. Addi-
tionally, the use of conditions does conict with the emphasis on the normative value of freedom to which most
BIG advocates adhere. Furthermore, the education and preventative health-based conditions of Bolsa Família
are dierent from those required to make a basic income environmentally sustainable. Bolsa Família, therefore,
may be too coercive to appeal to BI advocates, and lacks the environmental focus that a green CMI would imply.
Nonetheless, it does provide a model that a green CMI project could emulate. Furthermore, depending on the
          
   DE GRUYTER
absoluteness of the conditions soft encouragement of environmental behaviour instead of strict enforcement
the line between a BI and a CMI may be blurred. This could lead to eective and innovative policy.
5.2 Additions
The Bolsa Família project does, however, provide us with some precedent with which we can design a pro-
environment basic income program that does not necessarily involve conditions. Such a program might instead,
involve additions. Since 2011, some families who are already recipients of Bolsa Família may qualify to receive
additional funds under the Bolsa Verde program. Bolsa Verde is designed to disperse additional funds, above
the poverty amelioration levels of Bolsa Família, to families who live in environmental conservation areas.
(Government of Brazil, 2018). In exchange for the funds, participants agree to partake in environmental training
activities, to engage in forest revitalization projects, and refrain from environmentally damaging activities such
as clearcutting.
According to the Government of Brazil (2017) over 70,000 families had received such benets by the end of
2014, and studies have produced encouraging results. Alves-Pinto, Hawes, Newton, Feltran-Barbieri, and Peres
(2018) found that recipients cleared less rainforest for agriculture, that lost income from agricultural produc-
tivity was oset by the payment, and that the program is a catalyst for long-term pro-environment behavioral
changes. A Government of Brazil study as well as an ILO evaluation of Bolsa Verde and other Payment for En-
vironmental Services (PES) programs produced similar ndings (Cabral, Oncala, Giavizzo, & Apoloni, 2013;
Schwarzer, van Panhuys, & Diekmann, 2016).
Although Bolsa Verde is a CCT, not a BIG, if such a program were added to a basic income program, BIG
advocates may nd environmental conditions to be more agreeable. Pro-environmental behaviour, in such a
case, would not be forced by the compulsion to avoid poverty since, theoretically, participants would already
have been removed from abstract poverty by a BIG. As such, involvement in environmental protection activities
for additional funds would be undertaken by participants that have exercised a degree of freedom of choice.
Such an arrangement is planned to be tested in a basic income experiment in Utrecht, the Netherlands. This
program has been delayed indenitely but, if enacted, could deliver important data on environmental additions
to BIGs (McFarland, 2017). The structure of that trial is expected to involve a guaranteed monthly income for
two hundred and fty citizens already receiving government benets (Hamilton, 2016). Those chosen for the
experiment would be divided into six test groups. Four groups would receive €960 (around $1100) per month,
but two groups would receive €960 and an additional €150 if they were involved in volunteer activities which
may include environmental service. Such a program and study, if initiated, may provide a tangible vision of
how a green BIG that utilizes the strategy of additions might function.
5.3 Complements
Our study focuses deliberately on ways to integrate environmental concerns into basic income programs. There
is reason to believe, however, that a focus on one or two elements of policy in this way may be too circumspect
to deliver broad goals such as sustainable development or social and environmental justice on its own. The UN
(2015) in its discussion of the SDGs for example, insists that sustainable development requires simultaneous
improvements along social, economic, and environmental dimensions. Similarly, numerous individuals con-
sulted for this study insisted that basic income on its own is an incomplete solution to the multidimensional
problems that face humanity.
The work of James Mulvale is particularly important in this regard. Mulvale (2018, 2017) makes a case for
basic income, environmental protection, and social justice simultaneously via a program of interrelated and
complementary policy objectives. Mulvales set of complementary policies can be summarized as follows:
1. Universal basic income oering an adequate income oor for all.
2. Adequate, environmentally responsible (low footprint), aordable housing.
3. Local food security for good quality and aordable nutritious food, that is oppositional to the global agribusi-
ness model.
4. A restructure of the labour market to support green jobs and production, and care work.
5. Public transportation policies to support aordable and convenient public transit, including in rural areas.
6. Zero population growth.
          
DE GRUYTER   
7. Habitat protection along with ecologically sensible and community-oriented land-use planning.
8. Ecological education that imparts the necessity of environmental citizenship with the practical skills and
ethical values required for environmental sustainability
9. Greener healthcare prevention including health promotion strategies that promote non-institutional and
community integrated care.
Mulvales call for a rich set of complementary policies is not a minority opinion amongst basic income experts.
A common assertion at NABIG was that basic income is properly not seen as a replacement for other policy
initiatives, but as a complement to them. To restate this in Mulvales (2018) own terms, we need a complemen-
tary architecture of policies that are motivated around values of personal responsibility to others and other
species(n.p.). Such values, and associated policy ideas, are not in short supply amongst BIG advocates.
The topics of adequate housing and preventative healthcare policies, for example, were central in a discus-
sion at NABIG with indigenous leaders and during the youth workshop. Workshop participants proposed that
BI should not replace reparations for colonial injuries to indigenous peoples, or other collective programs, but
should be in addition to clean drinking water and adequate housing initiatives.
Mulvales third priority, which involves a commitment to increased availability of sustainably harvested
and healthy food, is also a major concern of many BIG advocates. Kourtney Koebel suggests that rather than
attaching food choice restrictions to BIGs, which would only impact those low-income spenders, complemen-
tary policies could encourage consumption of local sustainable products. For example, she recommends that
proactive policies oer a subsidy for consumption of local products, reduce the sales tax on local products,
and have programs that go into communities that are far from local markets(personal communication, June,
Such programs need not be restricted to government provision. The Nourish Project, a community initia-
tive in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, is devoted to sustainable eating, cooking, growing, and distribution
of healthy food while addressing the challenges of access for low-income individuals, the shrinkage of an-
nual income for farmers and producers, and the commodication of food. They do this while advocating for
a BIG as well. Jason Hartwick, a representative from the Nourish Project, supports complementary incentives
for the consumption of sustainable local foods (personal communication, June 27, 2018). Another community
organization that advocates for a BIG, The Working Centre, in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, also initiates com-
plementary environmental programs. They encourage urban gardening, use of waste-food, and the nurturance
of a community of makers, re-users, and recyclers (Mancini, 2018).
The key advantage of complementary policies, as Karl Widerquist suggests, is that they can be more egalitar-
ian. While environmental conditions attached to BIGs ask the poor to pay for environmental costs, he explains,
a complementary policy would make environmental remediation more fair:
I think policies to encourage people to buy local sustainable products or engage in community or environmental
work should begin with policies that give the more privileged people incentive to do these things. How do we get
the rich to spend their vast amounts of money on local things and engage in environmental work instead of buying
big wasteful cars? (personal communication, June 20, 2018)
Indeed, Lewis and Widerquist (2009) suggested that BIGs be combined with ecological tax reform which would
direct the behavior of all toward less environmentally damaging time use, occupations, and consumption. Sup-
ports for public transportation, a key element of Mulvales proposal, have been discussed as BIG complements
in past literature as well (Calder, 2010). In addition, most experts, as well as published work on the environ-
ment and basic income, advocated for a widespread pricing of environmentally damaging behaviour. Thus,
ideas that resonate strongly with Mulvales (2018) vision are reiterated multiple times in the work, research,
writing, action, and arguments of those who study, practice, receive, and advocate for basic income guarantees.
6 Conclusions
A clear nding of this study is that there has not been nearly enough research on the environmental implica-
tions of basic income programs. There have been no published English-language academic journal articles on
the topic since 2010. With no date restrictions, only 1% of all articles on basic income have addressed the envi-
ronmental issue. This paucity representation in academic journals does not reect an absence of environmental
concern on the part of BIG experts. None of the 60 NABIG presenters consulted for this paper suggested that
the environment was not an important concern. Furthermore, 6.5% of presentations explicitly addressed envi-
ronmental sustainability in their title and abstract a much higher rate of concern than the count of published
          
   DE GRUYTER
articles suggests. Furthermore, although they are few, there have been important contributions on the topic in
the form of book chapters and non-English language publications.
A clear barrier to the production of studies on the topic is the design of basic income pilots themselves. Thus
far, initiatives have been too small and selective to produce any measurable aggregate environmental impact.
Projects of that scale are unlikely in the near future. However, there may be other ways for researchers to explore
possible connections between the BIGs and the environment. The most obvious would be the inclusion of time-
use and consumption metrics in basic income pilot studies. Such metrics could be used to extrapolate, albeit
imperfectly, a net expected environmental burden of basic income. These could be used to test some theories,
produced in this paper, that suggest that BIGs could naturally yield either harmful or benecial environmental
results. Such studies could also shed light on the contextual nature of environmental impacts denoting under
which situations BI programs can be encouraged to produce positive results.
Our analysis of literature and consideration of opinions of BIG experts generated some important insights
about the relationship between BIGs and environmental protection. A strong negative theoretical relationship
emerged. This centralized increased consumption that may result from a BIG, as well as the undermining of
community/collective institutions by a social support program that is narrowly focused on the individual re-
cipient. A strong theoretical argument for pro-environment eects of a BIG emerged as well. This revolved
around the assumption that BIGs will reduce competitive consumption and allow recipients time to engage in
pro-social and pro-environmental behaviours.
Ultimately, However, the whether or not a BIG, or UBI has a positive or negative impact depends on how the
program is designed. An important nding of this study is that there are many possible policy conduits through
which a BIG could be made environmentally friendly. Although unpopular with BIG advocates who tend to
value personal freedom, green consumption conditions could be attached to the receipt of funds eectively
transforming BIGs in to CMIs. Additions could also be used oering additional funds above basic income
levels for those who choose to engage in pro-environment behaviour. Complements could embed BIGs within
an architecture of policy that is focused on social justice and environmental protection.
Creative combinations of multiple policies and research programs may produce the most aective and adap-
tive results. At this point, it is unclear what an empirically tested environmentally sustainable basic income
program would look like. What is clear, however, is that there are policy options that could produce posi-
tive outcomes, and that there is a need for innovative research and policy proposals that link environmental
protection to basic income programs in their various forms.
This work was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Funder Id:, Grant Number: 895-2015-1016).
                    
            
            
            
şıı              
                     
       
                
                
                      
   
                 
    
           
            
                    
    
           
          
DE GRUYTER   
            
                   
   
              
                     
 
            
                 
       
              
               
                    
                      
       
                        
                   
              
           
                     
   
                    
              
                  
  
                     
        
             
            
           
                     
               
                     
       
                   
 
                 
             
                
                     
     
              
                         
   
                
                    
    
                 
    
                      
   
                
                   
 
                     
              
             
          
   DE GRUYTER
                 
               
 
                      
    
                    
                 
           
                    
            
                    
    
                 
    
                       
      
                  
                   
        
                 
    
              
                
           
                   
                 
      
                  
                   
  
             
                  
               
             
             
                    
      
           
             
                    
   
                     
   
           
             
                      
                    
                    
        
              
                
 
          
                 
                   
           
          
DE GRUYTER   
                 
                   
      
              
          
Reproduced with permission of copyright owner. Further reproduction
prohibited without permission.
... give priority to the extant individualistic culture (Fitzpatrick, 2010), particularly given the individual nature of BI payments (MacNeill & Vibert, 2019). Overall, policy approaches that prioritise social and ecological values over profit and economic growth, such as an EBI, could play a role in fostering more collective values. ...
... OBIP recipients reported a decline in accessing soup kitchens. While a positive outcome, this highlights warnings in the literature that BI could undermine collective institutions, reduce community interaction, and increase individualism (MacNeill & Vibert, 2019). An EBI needs to form part of an evolution in community services and not a replacement. ...
Full-text available
While basic income (BI) has long been advocated for its social benefits, some scholars also propose it in response to the ecological crises. However, the empirical evidence to support this position is currently lacking and the concept of an ecological BI (EBI) is underdeveloped. Part one of this paper attempts to develop such a concept, arguing that an EBI should seek to reduce aggregate material throughput, improve human needs satisfaction, reduce inequalities, rebalance productive activity towards social activities in the autonomous sphere, and promote societal values of cooperation and sufficiency. Part two examines how BI interventions consider the principles of an EBI in their designs and discusses what their findings infer about BI’s ecological credentials. The results find that while ecological considerations are largely absent from BI intervention designs, their findings suggest that interventions aligned with the principles of an EBI could play a role in addressing the ecological crises.
... Overall, there is a great need for research on how ecosocial policy in Austria can be designed effectively and efficiently in terms of institutions and instruments. Some systematic reviews are available that summarise the results of international scientific studies with a focus on this issue (Alshqaqeeq et al., 2019;Lamb et al., 2020;MacNeill & Vibert, 2019;Mayrhuber et al., APCC SR Klimafreundliches Leben Technical Summary Page 50 /104 2018; Peñasco et al., 2021). However, Austrian interventions are often not included in these reviews or only as part of multi-country studies. ...
Full-text available
This technical summary provides an overview of the main statements of the APCC SR Structures for Climate-Friendly Living chapters. Based on scientific literature, the report assesses different approaches for transforming structures in order to make climate-friendly living in Austria possible and make it permanently and quickly the new status quo.
... Es besteht insgesamt großer Forschungsbedarf dazu, wie ökosoziale Politik in Österreich institutionell und hinsichtlich der Instrumente wirksam und effektiv ausgestaltet werden kann. Zwar liegen einige systematische Reviews vor, die die Ergebnisse internationaler wissenschaftlicher Studien zusammenfassend bewerten (Alshqaqeeq et al., 2019;Lamb et al., 2020;MacNeill & Vibert, 2019;Mayrhuber et al., 2018;Peñasco et al., 2021). Doch sind österreichische Interventionen in diesen Reviews häufig nicht oder nur als Teil von Mehr-Länder-Studien erfasst. ...
Full-text available
In der vorliegenden technischen Zusammenfassung werden die wesentlichen Aussagen der Kapitel des APCC SR Strukturen für ein klimafreundliches Leben zusammengefasst. Der Bericht bewertet auf Basis wissenschaftlicher Literatur unterschiedliche Ansätze zur Transformation von Strukturen, damit klimafreundliches Leben in Österreich dauerhaft möglich und rasch selbstverständlich wird.
... Furthermore, a UBI on its own would not change the way in which goods are produced or services provided, and it would not dis/incentivise what people could spend the additional income on. If there are few options for environmentally friendly consumption, or if people choose to spend their income on high-impact products, a UBI would have little capacity to reduce environmental impacts (Andersson, 2009;Boulanger, 2009;MacNeill and Vibert, 2019). ...
Full-text available
The newly emerging concept of sustainable welfare refers to welfare systems which aim to satisfy everyone's needs within planetary boundaries and to decouple the welfare-growth nexus. Both Universal Basic Income (UBI) and Universal Basic Services (UBS) have been discussed as suitable, but potentially competing, approaches that could support sustainable welfare. This paper contributes to this debate by asking how UBI and UBS compare in relation to four sustainable welfare criteria: a) planetary boundaries, b) needs satisfaction, c) fair distribution, and d) democratic governance. The paper argues that UBI and UBS are not so much conflicting but complementary approaches for supporting sustainable welfare. UBI focuses on the consumption side of the economy while UBS addresses the production side more directly, both of which would be relevant in any sustainable welfare system. Sustainable welfare outcomes of UBI and UBS would be shaped by the institutional contexts within which they operate, especially by the governance of markets, collective provisioning systems and decision-making at all levels. More attention needs to be paid to these institutional contexts when discussing potential sustainable welfare outcomes of UBI and UBS.
Full-text available
Amongst mounting criticisms surrounding market-based instruments for conservation, there have been calls to develop new tools to incentivise conservation action. Conservation basic income (CBI) has recently been proposed as a means of combining the environmental aims of market-based instruments with the positive social impacts of cash transfer programmes. So far, CBI has only been discussed conceptually, with little attention given to the practicalities of implementing it, especially through empirical work. This scoping mixed-methods study is the first to explore the views of conservation professionals on CBI and applying cash giving for conservation. In our study, we use a questionnaire conducted with 45 conservationists experienced in working in low-income countries (though mostly originally from high income countries) and six in-depth interviews with an environmental NGO implementing cash transfers. The opinions of these professionals, who implement conservation policies and shape their uptake, provide insight into the real-world applicability of cash giving for conservation, and whether CBI might realistically be used. The study found that cash giving has support amongst our sample for use in conservation, and that CBI might be a popular proposal. However, due to the heterogeneity of rural communities and their development needs, CBI may not be applicable everywhere in its suggested form. Instead, CBI could potentially be refocused to 1) act as a framework for bespoke cash transfer programmes, and 2) be intended for use alongside parallel development programmes to enable greater conservation and development outcomes.
Full-text available
This article provides a map of the UBI debate, structured into the main themes that guide and group the arguments on both sides. It finds that UBI’s supporters and opponents both draw on core principles of justice and freedom, focusing on need and poverty, discrimination and inequality, growth, social opportunity, individuality, and self-development. From an economic perspective, they both appeal to business concerns about efficiency, risk, flexibility, and consumption, as well as labour interests on work fulfilment, working conditions, remuneration, and bargaining. Likewise, they focus on political questions around welfare state reforms, redistribution, taxation and funding sources, democratic citizenship, and the prospects for cross-party policy coalitions. By providing an overview of the thematic pillars of the UBI debate, this article helps researchers and activists locate and orient themselves within the wider spectrum of opinion on UBI.
Full-text available
Across the political spectrum, there is widespread agreement that the European Union (EU) needs a palpable social dimension. In this paper, we provide a research-driven policy proposal on how this social dimension can be achieved in the light of the diversity of national welfare systems in the EU. We argue that a Universal Basic Income (UBI) could be a conceptually appealing policy to be implemented at EU level, complementing national welfare states. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the policy is receiving unprecedented and ever-increasing attention, and enjoys widespread public popularity, but is viewed with scepticism by major political parties. This paper is a unified source of information for progressive policymakers, advocates, consultants, and researchers who are interested in (a) how a European UBI could be concretely designed and (b) the reasoning and justifications behind its concrete design decisions. In order to formulate a policy proposal that could potentially foster crosspartisan compromises and move public policy preferences and political reality closer together, we conducted a comprehensive review of historical and contemporary UBI debates, gathered the key arguments presented in academic, popular, political, and organisational sources, and reflected on them from logical, normative, and empirical perspectives. Based on the most plausible arguments for and against a UBI, we designed a concrete policy proposal for a UBI at the EU level that responds to broadly progressive ideals from different partisan backgrounds. The result is an ambitious yet feasible proposal that bridges political divides and, if implemented, would be the most substantial leap for Social Europe yet.
Full-text available
In this age of Industrial Revolution 4.0, countries prioritize economic growth, like the increase in Gross Domestic Product. The study investigates the relationship of Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP), household final consumption expenditure (HFCE), and Palay production in 15 regions in the Philippines over the period 2009 to 2018. Results show that household final consumption expenditure is insignificant on Palay production and that GRDP has a positive effect on Palay production using Fixed Effects (FE) and Random Effects (RE) Panel Least Squares (PLS) regression. The Hausman test shows that the preferred model is the Random Effects model. The results show that degrowth is not necessary for the 15 regions to achieve sustainable palay production or to ease consumption so as to maintain a steady supply of palay in the Philippines.
Full-text available
Ihmiskunnan tulevaisuutta sävyttävät monet uhkakuvat, mutta myös ideat paremman tulevaisuuden luomiseksi kukoistavat. Yksi tällainen on perustulo. Johanna Perkiön kirjoittama Perustulo – Kohti 2020-luvun yhteiskuntapolitiikkaa on perusteellinen esitys perustulokeskustelusta Suomessa ja maailmalla. Opus tarkastelee perustulon historiallisia lähtökohtia ja tulee aina suomalaiseen perustulokokeiluun saakka. Opus arvioi perustulon toteuttamisen yhteiskunnallisia edellytyksiä Suomessa ja avaa ikkunaa kansalliset rajat ylittävään perustuloon. Perustulo – Kohti 2020-luvun yhteiskuntapolitiikkaa avaa myös uutta uraa suomalaiseen perustulokeskusteluun esittelemällä perustulon järjestämistä sosiaalisena osinkona. Lukijan pohdittavaksi jää, olisiko juuri se hyvä tapa toteuttaa perustulo ekologisen kriisin aikana.
A COVID-19 járvány világszerte drámai és soha nem látott hatást gyakorolt az egészségügyre és a gazdaságra. Sok kormány gazdasági mentőcsomagot állít össze, hogy segítse a normális működéshez való visszatérést, ám az IPBES (Biológiai Sokféleség és Ökoszisztéma-szolgáltatás Kormányközi Testület) 2019-ben elfogadott Globális Felmérése szerint a gazdaság megszokott működése az ökoszisztémák állapotának nagyfokú és széleskörű romlásához vezetett az elmúlt időkben. A pandémia utáni világrendnek lehetősége van megfékezni azokat a gazdasági folyamatokat, amelyek mindeddig súlyosbították az ökológiai vészhelyzetet. Tanulmányunk ebből a szemszögből vizsgálja meg a különböző érintettek számára rendelkezésre álló gazdaságpolitikai eszközöket, legyenek azok rövidtávú ösztönzők vagy a globális, nemzeti és helyi gazdaságot hosszabb távon megreformáló, átfogó intézkedések. Olyan beavatkozásokat mutatunk be e két kategória mentén, amelyek az ökológiai rendszer rugalmas alkalmazkodóképességét fenntartó tevékenységeket helyezik előtérbe a biodiverzitást károsító tevékenységek helyett – ilyenek például a pénzügyi támogatások, a jogszabályi korlátozások, valamint a gazdaság- és foglalkoztatáspolitikai intézkedések. Ha a pandémia nyomán kialakult krízist a globális gazdaság átalakítására nyíló lehetőségként tekintjük, esélyünk lehet az évtizedek óta zajló természetkárosító folyamatok visszafordítására.
Full-text available
Social work theory has had an inconsistent record in regard to adequately addressing the “environment” in all of its aspects. In the past, social work theory has focused overwhelmingly on the social environment of those whom the profession serves, and has ignored or minimized aspects of clients’ physical and natural environment. In recent decades, however, social work has more adequately theorized the importance of all aspects of environment. The “idealist” and the “structural” approaches to connecting social work and the environment have brought us closer to adequately theorizing the relationship between environmental sustainability and social justice. Social work’s theoretical perspectives on the environment can now extend their scope and usefulness if they draw insights from political economy, and deploy a range of public policy ideas to shape improved social programs and new tax and transfer mechanisms. In these ways, the discipline and profession of social work can make substantial contributions to attaining the linked goals of environmental sustainability and social justice.
Full-text available
In a model calibrated to match micro- and macroeconomic evidence on household income dynamics, we show that a modest degree of heterogeneity in household preferences or beliefs is sufficient to match empirical measures of wealth inequality in the United States. The heterogeneity-augmented model's predictions are consistent with microeconomic evidence that suggests that the annual marginal propensity to consume (MPC) is much larger than the roughly 0.04 implied by commonly used macroeconomic models (even ones including some heterogeneity). The high MPC arises because many consumers hold little wealth despite having a strong precautionary motive. Our model also plausibly predicts that the aggregate MPC can differ greatly depending on how the shock is distributed across households (depending, e.g., on their wealth, or employment status).
Full-text available
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change aims to keep warming below 2 degrees C while recognizing developing countries' right to eradicate extreme poverty. Poverty eradication is also the first of the Sustainable Development Goals. This paper investigates potential consequences for climate targets of achieving poverty eradication. We find that eradicating extreme poverty, i.e., moving people to an income above $1.9 purchasing power parity (PPP) a day, does not jeopardize the climate target even in the absence of climate policies and with current technologies. On the other hand, bringing everybody to a still modest expenditure level of at least $2.97 PPP would have long-term consequences on achieving emission targets. Compared to the reference mitigation pathway, eradicating extreme poverty increases the effort by 2.8% whereas bringing everybody to at least $2.97 PPP would increase the required mitigation rate by 27%. Given that the top 10% global income earners are responsible for 36% of the current carbon footprint of households; the discourse should address income distribution and the carbon intensity of lifestyles.
At least six different Universal Basic Income (UBI) experiments are underway or planned right now in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Finland, and Kenya. Several more countries are considering conducting experiments. Yet, there seems to be more interest simply in having UBI experiments than in exactly what we want to learn from them. Although experiments can produce a lot of relevant data about UBI, they are crucially limited in their ability to enlighten our understanding of the big questions that bear on the discussion of whether to implement UBI as a national or regional policy. And, past experience shows that results of UBI experiments are particularly vulnerable misunderstanding, sensationalism, and spin. This book examines the difficulties of conducting a UBI experiment and reporting the results in ways that successfully improve public understanding of the probable effects of a national UBI. The book makes recommendations how researchers, reporters, citizens, and policymakers can avoid these problems and get the most out of UBI experiments.
When properly implemented, Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT) achieve a high degree of internal validity. Yet, if an RCT is to inform policy, it is critical to establish external validity. This paper systematically reviews all RCTs conducted in developing countries and published in leading economic journals between 2009 and 2014 with respect to how they deal with external validity. Following Duflo, Glennerster, and Kremer (2008), we scrutinize the following hazards to external validity: Hawthorne effects, general equilibrium effects, specific sample problems, and special care in treatment provision. Based on a set of objective indicators, we find that the majority of published RCTs does not discuss these hazards and many do not provide the necessary information to assess potential problems. The paper calls for including external validity dimensions in a more systematic reporting on the results of RCTs. Thismay create incentives to avoid overgeneralizing findings and help policymakers to interpret results appropriately. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / THE WORLD BANK. All rights reserved.