Unconditional Basic Income. Comparing Four Income-Tax Based Proposals for Germany

Master's Thesis 2018 105 Pages

Political Science - Universal basic income


This master thesis provides a comparison of four practical income tax-based proposals for a basic income in Germany - schematically representing the political party landscape on the German debate of the last 10 years - and examines regulatory policy differences in personal income tax- and social security regulation as compared to the German tax system in 2013.

Focusing on 1) tax burden for different income levels 2) income redistribution and tax progressivity as well as 3) financing aspects it combines a theoretical comparative analysis with a practical policy debate. While it does not seek to motivate premature conclusions the analysis rather aims to increase transparency and contribute to a constructive debate between policy makers, scientists and society on the normative fundamental public policy question how a sustainable social policy may look like in the future.

Chapter 2 introduces the basic income as an idea and classifies different political motivations. It explains three measures used to evaluate the overall redistributive effect of a tax system and summarizes the methodological approach used to conduct the analysis for this thesis. Chapter 3 lays the grounds for the comparison describing the main characteristics of the German income tax- and social security system in 2013 which serves as a Reference Case for the static comparison with alternative regulation proposals. Plotting the functions for income taxes and social security contributions it visualizes the burden of taxation for different incomes. It then shows the calculation results of the Musgrave- and Kakwani-Indices of tax progressivity and finally gives a short overview of German social expenses in 2013 used to compare financing aspects of different basic income proposals. Chapter 4 summarizes the four basic income proposals analogous to the Reference Case. Chapter 5 compares the four proposals with the Reference Case regulation and critically assesses the methodological approach used. Chapter 6 concludes with a summary of the obtained results


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Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
unconditional basic income comparing four income-tax based proposals germany




Title: Unconditional Basic Income. Comparing Four Income-Tax Based Proposals for Germany