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.”
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.