Mincome was an experimental Canadian basic income project that was held in Dauphin, Manitoba, during the 1970s. The project, funded jointly by the Manitoba provincial government and the Canadian federal government under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. It was launched with a news release on February 22, 1974, under the NDP government of Edward Schreyer, and was closed down in 1979 under the Conservative government of Sterling Lyon and the federal Progressive Conservative Party of Joe Clark. The purpose of this experiment was to determine whether a guaranteed, unconditional annual income caused disincentive to work for the recipients, and how great such a disincentive would be.
It allowed every family unit to receive a minimum cash benefit. Participants who worked had their mincome supplement reduced by 50 cents for every dollar they earned by working. The results showed an impact on labor markets, with working hours dropping one percent for men, three percent for married women, and five percent for unmarried women. However, some have argued these drops may be artificially low because participants knew the guaranteed income was temporary. These decreases in hours worked may be seen as offset by the opportunity cost of more time for family and education. Mothers spent more time rearing newborns, and the educational impacts are regarded as a success. Students in these families showed higher test scores and lower dropout rates. There was also an increase in adults continuing education.
A final report was never issued, but Manitoban economist Evelyn Forget (//) conducted an analysis of the program in 2009 which was published in 2011. She found that only new mothers and teenagers worked substantially less. Mothers with newborns stopped working because they wanted to stay at home longer with their babies, and teenagers worked less because they weren't under as much pressure to support their families, which resulted in more teenagers graduating. In addition, those who continued to work were given more opportunities to choose what type of work they did. Forget found that in the period that Mincome was administered, hospital visits dropped 8.5 percent, with fewer incidents of work-related injuries, and fewer emergency room visits from car accidents and domestic abuse. Additionally, the period saw a reduction in rates of psychiatric hospitalization, and in the number of mental illness-related consultations with health professionals.
In 2015, the country of Finland was reported to be about to perform a similar experiment.
- Robert Longley. "Mincome: A Guaranteed Income for All Americans: Eliminating poverty or the incentive to work?". Retrieved 2015-01-16.
- Derek Hum & Wayne Simpson (2001-01-02). "A Guaranteed Annual Income? From Mincome to the Millennium" (PDF). Policy Options/Options Politique. pp. 78–82.
- "Improving Social Security in Canada—Guaranteed Annual Income: A Supplementary Paper". Canadian Social Research Links. 1994. Retrieved 2013-05-10.
- Salkind, N.J. & Haskins, R. (1982). Negative income tax: The impact on children from low-income families. Journal of Family Issues, 3, 165-180.
- Evelyn L. Forget (February 2011). "The Town with No Poverty—Using Health Administration Data to Revisit Outcomes of a Canadian Guaranteed Annual Income Field Experiment" (PDF). University of Manitoba. Retrieved 2013-05-10.
- Cameron Dearlove (Oct 19, 2012). "Consider guaranteed annual income to reduce poverty". The Kitchener Daily Record. Retrieved 2012-11-17.
- Belik, Vivian. "A Town Without Poverty? Canada's only experiment in guaranteed income finally gets reckoning". The Dominion. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
- A Way to Get Healthy: Basic Income Experiments in Canada basicincome.org.uk
- Carol Goar (2011-01-11). "Anti-poverty success airbrushed out". Toronto, Canada: The Star. Retrieved 2013-05-10.
- Adam Bolt, The Telegraph (Dec 6, 2015). "Finland to pay every citizen $1,100 per month and scrap all other benefits in effort to reduce unemployment rate". National Post. Retrieved 2015-12-06.
- "The town with no poverty: A history of the North American Guaranteed Annual Income Social Experiments" (2008 draft for an upcoming study by Dr. Evelyn L. Forget funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research)
- Mary Agnes Welch, An end to the perpetual welfare trap? Guaranteed incomes debated
- Podcast on CBC discussing the Canadian project in relation to current events in Switzerland: "Switzerland considers a mandatory basic minimum income for everyone - Dec 2, 2013" at http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/listen/#
- A November 12, 2013 New York Times Magazine article, Switzerland's Proposal to Pay People for Being Alive mentions this study.