Temporary Basic Income (TBI)

Jul 23, 2020

As the rate of new COVID-19 cases accelerates across the developing world, it exposes the potentially devastating costs of job losses and income reversals. Unconditional emergency cash transfers can mitigate the worst immediate effects of the COVID-19 crisis on poor and near-poor households that do not currently have access to social assistance or insurance protection. This paper provides estimates for a Temporary Basic Income (TBI), a minimum guaranteed income above the poverty line, for vulnerable people in 132 developing countries.

A TBI amounts to between 0.27 and 0.63 per cent of their combined GDPs, depending on the policy choice:

i. top-ups on existing average incomes in each country up to a vulnerability threshold;
ii. lump-sum transfers that are sensitive to cross-country differences in the median standard of living; or,
iii. lump-sum transfers that are uniform regardless of the country where people live.

A temporary basic income is within reach and can inform a larger conversation about how to build comprehensive social protection systems that make the poor and near-poor more resilient to economic downturns in the future.

Authors: George Gray Molina, Eduardo Ortiz-Juarez

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