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Basic Income Studies

Ed. by Haagh, Anne-Louise / Howard, Michael

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The Basic Income Grant Pilot Project in Namibia: A Critical Assessment

Rigmar Osterkamp
  • Department of Economics, School for Political Studies at Munich University, Munich, Germany
  • :
Published Online: 2013-07-10 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bis-2012-0007


Since January 2008 a monthly Basic Income Grant (BIG) of N$ 100 (about US$ 15) has been paid to around 1,000 citizens of the Namibian village of Otjivero. (In January 2010 it is reduced to N$ 80.) The project is called a “pilot project”, because its intention is to convince the government to extend the scheme to the whole country. This article shares the view that a new approach to social policy in Namibia is indeed desirable, because poverty is severe and income inequality is very high in an international perspective. The article addresses two questions: First, are the design and the conduct of the project and the assessment of its effects in line with established standards of empirical socio-economic research? In other words, are the reported behavioral effects of the BIG in Otjivero convincingly derived? Second, did the project sufficiently address issues which are of particular relevance for an eventual positive political decision? The article comes to the conclusion that neither of the questions can be answered in the affirmative. At the end, the article derives recommendations for possible future BIG projects.

Keywords: basic income; Namibia; empirical research methods; conditional cash transfer

Published Online: 2013-07-10

Citation Information: Basic Income Studies. Volume 8, Issue 1, Pages 71–91, ISSN (Online) 1932-0183, ISSN (Print) 2194-6094, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bis-2012-0007, July 2013

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