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Basic income, unemployment and job scarcity


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  • Loek Groot


The main claim of this paper is that in a world of equal entitlements to work rights the justification for a basic income is stronger, and that its level should be higher. the higher the level of unemployment or job scarcity. Point of departure is an economy with job scarcity. A fair way to deal with job scarcity is to grant everybody an equal right to work, where these rights can be freely traded. It turns out that such a Labour Rights scheme and a basic income scheme are equivalent. The equivalence is that the price of Labour Rights and the unemployment benefit corresponds to the income tax rate and basic income respectively. The tax rate can thus be considered as what workers have to pay to appropriate scarce job assets. Both schemes allow that some people voluntarily abstain from doing paid work, in return for a financial compensation. Therefore, the advantages in terms of equity and efficiency of a Labour Rights scheme equally apply to the basic income proposal. This analysis provides an argument against cutting unemployment and social assistance benefits during economic downturns and it offers new insights to evaluate the parasitism and exploitation objection raised against basic income.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by De Boeck Université in its journal Recherches économiques de Louvain.

Volume (Year): 70 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 369-387

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Handle: RePEc:cai:reldbu:rel_703_369

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