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


  • Osterkamp Rigmar

    () (Department of Economics, School for Political Studies at Munich University, Munich, Germany)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Osterkamp Rigmar, 2013. "The Basic Income Grant Pilot Project in Namibia: A Critical Assessment," Basic Income Studies, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 71-91, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bistud:v:8:y:2013:i:1:p:71-91:n:1

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Standing Guy, 2008. "How Cash Transfers Promote the Case for Basic Income," Basic Income Studies, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-30, July.
    2. Miguel-Angel Martín & Agustín Herranz, 2004. "Human capital and economic growth in Spanish regions," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 10(4), pages 257-264, November.
    3. Haagh, Louise, 2011. "Working Life, Well-Being and Welfare Reform: Motivation and Institutions Revisited," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 450-473, March.
    4. Ben R. Craig & William E. Jackson & James B. Thomson, 2004. "On SBA-guaranteed lending and economic growth," Working Paper 0403, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    5. repec:kap:iaecre:v:10:y:2004:i:4:p:257-264 is not listed on IDEAS
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