Basic income: trade-offs and bottom lines

04 July 2017

By Dina Bowman, Shelley Mallett and Diarmuid Cooney-O’Donoghue June 2017

In a changing employment and budgetary context, there is renewed interest in the concept of a basic income – a form of social security in which individuals receive a regular, often unconditional payment from either government or a public institution.


This working paper examines the purpose and intent of key basic income proposals and trials in Australia and overseas. It then proposes a nine-dimension framework, expanded from the framework of De Wispelaere and Stirton (2004), for assessing basic income policies, especially their capacity to underpin economic security.

The paper is part of a program of activities to honour Professor Ronald Henderson’s work on poverty, social security and basic income. Conducted throughout 2016 and 2017, the program involves a partnership between  the University of Melbourne and Brotherhood of St Laurence, supported by the Henderson family.

Download Basic income: trade-offs and bottom lines (PDF, 471 KB)

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