Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details

Basic Income Studies

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

2 Issues per year

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.113
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 1.248
Impact per Publication (IPP) 2015: 0.222

See all formats and pricing

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

Rigmar Osterkamp
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Economics, School for Political Studies at Munich University, Munich, Germany
  • Email:
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


  • Barro, R., & Sala-i-Martin, X. (2004). Economic growth. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Central Bureau of Statistics. (2008). A review of poverty and inequality in Namibia. Windhoek: National Planning Commission.

  • Christiansen, Th. (2011). Assessing Namibia’s performance two decades after independence. Journal of Namibian Studies, Part 1: 10/2011, 31–53; Part 2: 11/2011, 29–61.

  • Haagh, L. (2011). Working life, well-being and welfare reform: Motivation and institutions revisited. World Development, 39(3), 450–473.

  • Haarmann, C., & Haarmann, D. (2012). Pilot Project. http://www.bignam.org/BIG_pilot.html

  • Haarmann, C., & Haarmann, D. (2007, June). From survival to decent employment: Basic income security in Namibia. Basic Income Studies, 2(1), online, DOI: 10.2202/1932-0183.1066. [Crossref]

  • Haarmann, C., & Haarmann, D. (Eds.). (2005). The basic income grant in Namibia – Resource book. Windhoek: BIG Coalition.

  • Haarmann, C., Haarmann, D., Jauch, H., Shindondola-Mote, H., Nattrass, N., van Niekerk, I., & Samson, M. (2009). Making the difference! – The basic income grant in Namibia. Assessment Report, April, Windhoek: BIG Coalition.

  • Haarmann, C., Haarmann, D., Jauch, H., Shindondola-Mote, H., Nattrass, N., Samson, M., & Standing, G. (2008, September). Towards a basic income grant for all: Basic income grant pilot project assessment report. Windhoek: BIG Coalition.

  • Haarmann, C., Haarmann, D., Mote, H., & Jauch, H. (2011). The BIG debate in context: Facts and fiction about Otjivero. New Era (a Namibian daily), 15 July.

  • ILO. (2009). The social protection floor initiative. Retrieved from www.socialsecurityextension.org.

  • Namibian Tax Consortium. 2002, Report of the Namibian Tax Consortium on the Tax Structure of Namibia, December, Windhoek, mimeo; with Appendix 4 on “Income Redistribution and Poverty Relief – A Universal Grant Combined with Indirect Tax Increases” (13 pages).

  • Osterkamp, R. (2010). BIG deserves a fair chance, yes: By doing serious research about it. New Era (a Namibian daily), 21 May.

  • Shangula, K. (2011a). The BIG confusion. The Namibian (a Namibian daily), 1 March.

  • Shangula, K. (2011b). The proposed BIG: What are the facts? The Namibian (a Namibian daily),5 February.

  • Sharif, M. (2003). Work behavior of the world’s poor: Theory, evidence, and policy. Aldershot: Ashgate.

  • Sherbourne, R. (2009). Guide to the Namibian economy. Windhoek: Namibian Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

  • Standing, Guy. (2008). How cash transfers promote the case for basic income. Basic Income Studies, 3(1), online, DOI: 10.2202/1932-0183.1106. [Crossref]

  • Talabani, H. (2011). The basic income road to reforming Iran’s price subsidies. Basic Income Studies, 6(1), online, DOI: 10.2202/1932-0183.1172. [Crossref]

  • UNDG. (2010). Conditional cash transfers: A global perspective. MDG Insights, February.

  • UNDP. (2009). Conditional cash transfer schemes for alleviating human poverty, April.

  • World Bank. (2009). Conditional cash transfers: Reducing present and future poverty. Retrieved from http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTCCT/Resources/5757608-1234228266004/PRR-CCT_web_noembargo.pdf

About the article

Published Online: 2013-07-10

Citation Information: Basic Income Studies, ISSN (Online) 1932-0183, ISSN (Print) 2194-6094, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bis-2012-0007. Export Citation

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Cristian Pérez Muñoz
Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 2014, Page 1

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in