Spain: The Barcelona B-MINCOME experiment publishes its first results

Spain: The Barcelona B-MINCOME experiment publishes its first results

The pilot project which is being carried out in Barcelona – B-MINCOME – combining guaranteed minimum income and active social policies in Barcelona’s deprived urban areas– published a report, on July 2019, with the results of its first operational year (2017-2018). The experiment, which began in October 2017 and is due by the end of 2019, aims to reduce poverty and social exclusion in highly vulnerable groups. During these 24 months, and based on a Randomised Control Trial model, 1000 households (randomly) selected from three of the city’s poorest districts (Nou Barris, Sant Andreu and Sant Martí) have been receiving a maximum cash transfer of €1675 a month. Of these 1000 households, 550 have also taken part in four active-inclusion policies which the project has set up: one for training and employment; one of fostering entrepreneurship in the social, solidarity and cooperative economy; one with grants for refurbishing flats in order to rent out rooms; and one involving community participation.

What makes this project so innovative is that it combines four modes of participation: Conditional (people randomly assigned to an active policy are obliged to take part in it), Unconditional (participation in these policies is not a condition for receiving the income), Limited (any additional income that might be obtained proportionally reduces the amount of the cash transfer) and Non-limited (where this additional income does not reduce the amount of the transfer).

Apart from reducing poverty and fostering personal autonomy, the B-MINCOME’s overall objective is to test which modality of income transfer is the most effective (concerning results) and the most efficient (concerning implementation costs). This experiment or pilot project is, therefore, an initial step towards implementing a municipal income-transfer system which should be consolidated in the near future.

In line with the results obtained in similar experiments, such as the one in Manitoba during the 1970s, the Finish one, the one suddenly cancelled in Ontario and those that are now coming to a close in various Dutch cities, such as Utrecht, the report now published by the Barcelona City Council shows very positive quantitative results. For example, an 11% average increase in general well-being and a 1,4% increase in economic well-being. It also shows an 8% reduction in the severe material privation index, and a reduction of up to 18% in ‘worrying about not having enough food’. It is also worth noting the 3% average reduction in the need to get money through means other than employment (e.g. by renting out rooms, a problem that especially affects the city of Barcelona) or the decreasing trend in developing mental illnesses and an improved quality of sleep, by 10% and 1% respectively – two results associated with a reduction in the financial stress suffered by these families. Furthermore, the qualitative and ethnographic evaluation of the project also reveals positive impacts, such as an increase of nearly 28% in happiness and general satisfaction with life, as well as a significant increase in engagement with and participation in neighbourhood and community life.

However, the report does not detect statistically significant changes in housing insecurity or in the households’ ability to cope with unexpected expenses (although this cash-transfer is not designed to make savings possible but only to meet basic expenses). Furthermore, no significant results have been observed regarding work placement or in other dimensions related to employment. However, it should be noted that this result was expected and is in line with other similar experiments, which also confirms the initial hypothesis: people in the Conditioned modality experienced a “lock-in effect”, as their (compulsory) participation in the active policies may have meant they had less time to look for work. However, it should be noted that most participants were suffering from a high degree of exclusion or job precariousness prior to the start of the project. It was, therefore, unrealistic to expect ambitious results in this sense.

The referred report only contains results obtained during the first year of the project, and hence the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the project can only be definitively evaluated in early 2020.

Given the recipients’ highly vulnerable profile, and the fact that these results come from a single year of (the pilot’s) implementation, there are motives for optimism. Final results are expected to be more significant and consistent from a statistical perspective, plus even more encouraging from a substantive point of view, i.e. in improving beneficiaries’ quality of life, increasing their freedom and autonomy and reducing their dependence on other public subsidies.

Written by Bru Laín ( Affiliate professor of Sociology (University of Barcelona), researcher at the B-MINCOME project and Secretary of the Spanish Basic Income Network

Reviewed by André Coelho

CANADA: Symposium on Dauphin Mincome Experiment Held at University of Manitoba

CANADA: Symposium on Dauphin Mincome Experiment Held at University of Manitoba

By Jason Burke Murphy


On October 3rd, the Social Work Department at the University of Manitoba held a Symposium on the Mincome Experiment conducted in Dauphin, Manitoba in the 1970’s. This included presentations by the Director of the Mincome Experiment in the 1970’s, Ron Hikel.

The resources from the Mincome Symposium held at the University of Manitoba (including the two papers presented and an audio clip of Ron Hikel’s interview with UMFM) have been posted on the Faculty of Social Work website.

The symposium featured Ron Hikel, who was Director of the Manitoba Basic Annual Income (Mincome) Experiment. His paper is linked here: Piloting Basic Income in Canada: Lessons from the Past, Possibilities in the Present.

Shortly after the symposium, Hikel also conducted an interview you can find here. Wayne Simpson, Greg Mason, and Ryan Godwin, of the Department of Economics at the University of Manitoba also wrote this paper: The Manitoba Basic Annual Income Experiment: Lessons Learned 40 Years Later.

The conference was moderated by Jim Mulvale and Sid Frankel of the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Manitoba.


More information at:

David Calnitsky, “‘More Normal than Welfare’: The Mincome Experiment, Stigma, and Community Experience

Evelyn Forget on The Legacy of Mincome & other Basic Income Experiment

Jenna van Draanen interview

Claire Bott, “Evelyn Forget/Northern Institute publish new report on BIG”, Basic Income News, August 1st 2017

Kate McFarland, “Overview of Current Basic Income Related Experiments (October 2017)“, October 19th 2017


‘Mincome Experiment’ documentary will investigate 1970s experiment

‘Mincome Experiment’ documentary will investigate 1970s experiment

The crowdfunding campaign for “The Mincome Experiment” can be found here.

The Mincome Experiment is a documentary that is as much a story about basic income as it is about human socioeconomic evolution throughout the years. Vincent Santiago, the director for the documentary, first heard that University of Manitoba professor Dr. Evelyn Forget was looking for volunteers to digitize the results of the 1970s Mincome experiment. While Santiago did not consider himself an experienced social activist, he was nevertheless keen to study possible measures to prevent government excesses that he believed could lead to growing social inequality and injustices. Santiago was convinced that basic income and open government were foundations that could help prevent social inequality and injustice.

The Mincome experiment and the concept of basic income caught Santiago’s imagination, and he took a passionate interest in seeking out more information. He finally talked to Dr. Forget on April 2014. Another opportunity arose soon after to interview then-Conservative Senator Hugh Segal, a very vocal and strong basic income advocate in Canada. Vincent Santiago read about and researched basic income and talked to economists and others. In the process, he discovered several interesting side stories not widely known, even within Canada.

Santiago wanted to make the Mincome experiment into a documentary. He soon realized there was so much story to be told. He looked into the various forms of basic income and decided the film should be told as an engaging narrative about human socioeconomic evolution. Intertwined into the historical and visionary backdrop is the concept of basic income and its role. Of the film, Santiago said:

While the Mincome experiment is very much the central theme of the documentary, the documentary also looks into other basic income experiments and the various forms and possible implementation. I’ve started calculating the various ways to pay for it and how to implement them.

The promotional trailer created for the crowdfunding campaign asks various questions typically uttered by people who are cynical or against basic income. That is because Santiago did not want to make a film only for those already familiar with basic income. He wanted to create an entertaining and fun documentary that also draws in the skeptics by presenting facts, without shying away from common ridicule and prevailing concerns.

Another project that occupies Santiago’s time is creating a low-cost, no commission fee platform for crowdfunding, curating, and showcasing creative works. With this platform, which first went into development in 2012, Santiago is now launching the crowdfunding campaign for his documentary. The Mincome Experiment project is still a long way from reaching the stated fundraising goal, but the team remains confident the amount can be reached. Efficient use of the funds would allow the project to include more engaging footage and animation for the documentary, ensuring that it will capture and convince audiences worldwide.

The crowdfunding runs until June 15, 2017 and can be found here.

Written by the team behind “The Mincome Experiment.”

David Calnitsky, “‘More Normal than Welfare’: The Mincome Experiment, Stigma, and Community Experience”


This paper examines the impact of a social experiment from the 1970s called the Manitoba Basic Annual Income Experiment (Mincome). I examine Mincome’s “saturation” site located in Dauphin, Manitoba, where all town residents were eligible for guaranteed annual income payments for three years. Drawing on archived qualitative participant accounts I show that the design and framing of Mincome led participants to view payments through a pragmatic lens, rather than the moralistic lens through which welfare is viewed. Consistent with prior theory, this paper finds that Mincome participation did not produce social stigma. More broadly, this paper bears on the feasibility of alternative forms of socioeconomic organization through a consideration of the moral aspects of economic policy. The social meaning of Mincome was sufficiently powerful that even participants with particularly negative attitudes toward government assistance felt able to collect Mincome payments without a sense of contradiction. By obscuring the distinctions between the “deserving” and “undeserving” poor, universalistic income maintenance programs may weaken social stigmatization and strengthen program sustainability.

David Calnitsky, “‘More Normal than Welfare’: The Mincome Experiment, Stigma, and Community Experience,” Canadian Review of Sociology 53, no. 1, pages 26–71, February 2016