Basic income as a pandemic social protection instrument: Lessons from Maricá, Brazil

This article explores the connection between two related but distinct models of basic income proposals in the context of a pandemic emergency. While COVID-19 appears to have increased interest in basic income, this often ended up taking the form of a temporary emergency basic income (EBI) instead of a permanent universal basic income (UBI). In this article we argue that the “dial up/dial down” model of basic income allows us to link EBI and UBI in a way that offers both a practical response to important implementation challenges in emergency policy making and a strategic argument in favour of UBI as a pandemic policy instrument. We illustrate our argument by contrasting the Renda Básica de Cidadania (RBC) in the municipality of Maricá, Brazil, with two comparable programmes in the same region.