Global Basic Income Grant (BIG) Pilots Since 2000
An Annotated Summary of Lessons for South Africa
This research paper builds on SPII’s 2021 research report reviewing social transfer programmes within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and global social protection responses to Covid-19.
SPII’s SADC report sought to consolidate existing knowledge of BIG pilots and the policy formation dynamics for social protection policies within the SADC region in order to argue for a launch of these programmes.
The current study, however, seeks to present an annotated summary of lessons – from BIG pilot projects that have been implemented globally since the year 2000 – of the potential social transformational impact of a BIG in South Africa.
These lessons will be used by SPII to inform and advance the research, policy, and social dialogue for the implementation of a BIG in South Africa.
The scope of the paper will exclusively be limited to the impact of the BIG cash transfers on the lives, well-being and work activities of the participants involved in the selected BIG pilot experiments.
As such, the paper will not delve into an analysis of possible fiscal and monetary policy implications of a BIG in South Africa. Nor will it carry out an assessment of possible funding models for a BIG in the country.
That will form part of the mandate for the second and third papers in this research series of papers on the BIG by SPII.