Basic income as a pandemic social protection instrument: Lessons from Maricá, Brazil

Jurgen De Wispelaere
Leticia Morales
Fabio Waltenberg

Volume 77 (2024), Issue 1-2

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This article explores the connection between two related but distinct models of basic income proposals in the context of a pandemic emergency. While COVID-19 appears to have increased interest in basic income, this often ended up taking the form of a temporary emergency basic income (EBI) instead of a permanent universal basic income (UBI). In this article we argue that the “dial up/dial down” model of basic income allows us to link EBI and UBI in a way that offers both a practical response to important implementation challenges in emergency policy making and a strategic argument in favour of UBI as a pandemic policy instrument. We illustrate our argument by contrasting the Renda Básica de Cidadania (RBC) in the municipality of Maricá, Brazil, with two comparable programmes in the same region.

Cash transfers
Social policies & programmes
social policy
cash benefit
benefit administration