Basic Income Studies (BIS) is the first academic journal dedicated to research on basic income. Each year it awards a prize for the best English-language essay presented at the following conferences: BIEN on even years and NA-BIG on the odd years. The winning essay and runner-up are published in BIS. The winning essay for 2010 was Hamid Tabatabai, for his essay, “The ‘Basic Income’ Road to Reforming Iran’s Price Subsidies.” It will appear in the next issue of BIS. The abstract of the article is below. We congratulate Dr. Tabatabai. The runner-up for 2010 was Peter P. Houtzager, for his essay, “Reformist Professionals and the Silent Revolution in Social Policy: Minimum Income Guarantees In Brazil.” It will appear in a later issue of BIS. Below are the abstracts for the two essays:

“The ‘Basic Income’ Road to Reforming Iran’s Price Subsidies.”

Hamid Tabatabai

ABSTRACT: Iran has become the first country in the world to provide a de facto basic income to all its citizens. This article reviews the development of the main component of Iran’s economic reform plan – the replacement of fuel and food subsidies with direct cash transfers to the population – and shows how a system of universal, regular, and unconditional cash transfers emerged, almost by default, as a by-product of an attempt to transform an inefficient and unfair system of price subsidies. The main features of the ‘cash subsidy’ system are compared with those of a basic income and some lessons are drawn with a view to enhancing the prospects of basic income as a more realistic proposition.

“Reformist Professionals and the Silent Revolution in Social Policy: Minimum Income Guarantees In Brazil.”

Peter P. Houtzager

ABSTRACT: Minimum income guarantee programmes in Brazil represent one of the most significant changes in policy towards the poor since the 1960s. Contrary to expectations in much of the recent literature on Latin America’s public sector, the programmes are less the product of mobilisation from below or state elite vision, than the initiative of reformist middle class professionals with at least one foot in the public sector. This article traces the role of a loose network of reformist labour economists in the two-decade trajectory (1990-2010) of the first family minimum income programme (Renda Minima) proposed in Brazil – that of the metropolis of São Paulo.

About Karl Widerquist

Karl Widerquist has written 983 articles.

Karl Widerquist is a Professor of political philosophy at Georgetown University-Qatar. He specializes in distributive justice—the ethics of who has what. Much of his work involves Universal Basic Income (UBI). He is a co-founder of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network (USBIG). He served as co-chair of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) for 7 years, and a member of the BIEN EC for 14 years. He was the Editor of the USBIG NewsFlash for 15 years and of the BIEN NewsFlash for 4 years. He is a cofounder of BIEN’s news website, Basic Income News. He is a cofounder of the journal "Basic Income Studies." Widerquist has published several books and many articles on UBI both in academic journals and in the popular media. He has appeared on or been quoted by many major media outlets, such as NPR’s On Point, NPR’s Marketplace, PRI’s the World, CNBC, Al-Jazeera, 538, Vice, Dissent, the New York Times, Forbes, the Financial Times, and the Atlantic Monthly, which called him “a leader of the worldwide basic income movement.” Most of Karl Widerquist's academic writing is available at his research website ( For more information about him, see his BIEN profile (