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Universal Basic Income and the Natural Environment: Theory and Policy

Timothy MacNeill and Amber Vibert
From the journal Basic Income Studies


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.

Funding statement: This work was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Funder Id:, Grant Number: 895-2015-1016).


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Published Online: 2019-06-29

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