Mon Mar 9, 2015 | 16:00 | Theatre |

Basic income

We tend to think that simply giving people money makes them lazy. Yet some scientists suggests the contrary: free money helps. Four top economists on the question: should the government give every citizen a basic income?

Some economists say it reduces efficiency, leads to higher taxes, and is a disincentive for people to work. Others say it is an idea worth researching. To fight growing inequality we should, they say, investigate alternative wealth distribution measures like these.

Is the concept of a basic income too good to be true? How do you test such a complex policy measure? And why do economists disagree so much? This debate will question how desirable and feasible the basic income really is.


  • Prof. dr. Bas Jacobs (professor of Public Finance and Economic Policy)
  • Dr. Marcel Canoy (FD, Erasmus School of Accounting & Assurance)
  • Prof. dr. Arjo Klamer (professor of Cultural Economics)
  • Dr. Kellie Liket (economist and impact researcher)

See for more information

Bas Jacobs is a professor of Public Finance at the Erasmus School of Economics. He firmly opposes the introduction of the basic income. He fears that the lowest income groups will be harmed, the government will become less efficient in redistributing wealth, and that taxes will need to rise. He claims that the idea of a basic income should be rejected based on fundamental economic logic and that it does more harm than good.

Marcel Canoy is an economist (Erasmus School of Accounting & Assurance) and columnist at the Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad (FD). He recently was one of the guests in the basic income special of the successful TV-show Tegenlicht.  His computations of the costs and benefits show a net loss, but ‘bookkeeping and economics are not the same’. When people no longer have to worry about enough income, he says, it could be stimulating to engage in socially desirable activities and voluntary work.

Arjo Klamer is a professor of Cultural Economics and municipal executive councillor of social affairs in the municipality of Hilversum. He thinks of the basic income as a fundamental right, but at the same time acknowledges there are practical difficulties. Where do you find the money to pay all those people? And what happens if you remove one of the biggest incentives to participate on the job market?

The debate will be moderated by Kellie Liket (economist and researcher in the field of social impact).

This event is a cooperation of SG Erasmus and AEclipse.

Basic Income
Debate with Bas Jacobs, Arjo Klamer, Marcel Canoy and Kellie Liket
Monday 9 March, 19.00-20.30 hrs
Erasmus Paviljoen
Free entrance

Registration for the Basic Income debat (recommended)

More information about the Week of the Economics can be found here.

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