For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"The Case for a Participation Income"

by Atkinson, A B (1996)


I HAVE an unconventional view of citizen’s income and favour departing from the usual proposals in two significant respects. First, citizen’s income is usually seen as an alternative to social insurance-as a replacement for the Beveridge principle of social security. In my judgement, this. is a mistake: the aim of citizen’s income should rather be to cut dependence on means- tested benefits. Complementing, rather than replacing, an improved social insur- ance scheme, it could reduce the number of people who have to rely on income support or family credit, and help low-wage workers without need for a scheme like earnings top-up. Moreover, it could be complementary to a minimum wage. Secondly, I believe that it will be difficult to secure political support for a citizen’s income while it remains unconditional on labour market or other activity. One of the legacies of the Thatcher years has been concern about dependency, and this is not limited to Britain. A number of countries are anxious to ensure that social security works with, rather than against, the grain of active labour market measures, an approach underlying much of the Social Justice Commission’s report. The aim of this article is to argue these two points and specifically to make the case for a participation income.


Atkinson, Economics, Citizens Income, Participation Income, Dependency


Universal Basic Income

Links to Reference



How to contribute.