The Impact of Basic Income on the Propensity to Work: Theoretical Issues and Micro-econometric results

In France, there is much debate about “minimum social benefits”, and basic income is still perceived as too daring a proposal, in particular because it is believed to encourage idleness. How can we predict how individuals would use this unconditional income? As regards low wage earners, we look first at the uncertainties surrounding the economic theory as to the behavioural changes that this could induce. This is followed by an econometric study of answers given in 2000 by a panel of poorly qualified young adults who had recently become employed : this indicates that the payment of a monthly allowance of 2,000 FF (approximately 300 Euros) would not result in a massive withdrawal from work. Integration through employment means more than just receiving a wage, and disconnecting work from income rarely encourages individuals to experiment with other types of social integration.

Gamel.C, Balsan.D, Véro.J, Socio-Économie du Travail n°26 (Économies et Sociétés, tome XXXIX), août 2005, p.1411-1441.

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