This post begins a series that will explore various aspects of a universal basic income, beginning with the simple economics of the UBI and contrasting it with other approaches to income support. Future posts will examine the fiscal cost of a UBI and some of the political and ideological issues it raises.
Criteria for evaluating income support systems
What makes an income support program good or bad? Although opinions differ, people who evaluate existing or proposed policies often appeal to these four criteria:
- A good income support program should be effective in leaving no one below an agreed poverty level.
- It should be targeted in the sense that it should provide support to those who need it rather than to those who already have adequate means.
- It would, as much is possible, leave work incentives intact.
- It would be administratively efficient, in the sense of holding down administrative costs per dollar of support that beneficiaries receive.