Go BIG or go home?

New report suggests government should invest in basic income grants – BIGs – to fight poverty and help economic growth

New ADRS and IEJ report suggests government should invest in basic income grants – BIGs – to fight poverty and help economic growth

GO BIG: New ADRS and IEJ report suggests government should invest in basic income grants – BIGs – to fight poverty and help economic growth.

Johannesburg, South Africa – December 12, 2023: IN A highly unequal society like South Africa, with half the population or close to 30 million people living in poverty, a Basic Income Grant (BIG) is a means of limited redistribution to the poorest.

A new report, unveiled today by Applied Development Research Solution (ADRS) and the Institute for Economic Justice (IEJ), says implementing a BIG can reduce poverty and inequality and boost economic growth and employment.

The report, Macroeconomic and Developmental Impacts of Selected Basic Income Grant Pathways for South Africa, highlights the transformative impact of a BIG for South Africa.

The study, which models three new basic income scenarios, shows there is no trade-off between a BIG and economic growth and fiscal sustainability. Instead, it produces win-win outcomes, significantly reducing poverty and inequality while fostering positive macroeconomic outcomes.

This is counter to mainstream economic models, which often predict that implementing a BIG would negatively affect the economy.

“These models are built to closely reflect a particular view of a market economy that suffers from a number of inter-related irremediable flaws such as full employment, perfect competition, perfect information and rational expectations assumptions," said Dr. Asghar Adelzadeh, ADRS Global chief executive and author of the report.

“Our Dynamically Integrated Macro-Micro Simulation Model of South Africa (DIMMSIM) reveals that with reasonable funding pathways, BIG can be a catalyst for positive outcomes—reducing poverty and inequality while enhancing economic growth and employment.”

Think BIG, act local

The BIG pathways outlined in the study, showcase the potential to reduce the national poverty rate by up to two-thirds by 2030, presenting a promising avenue for poverty alleviation that is often overlooked.

The study proposes a funding strategy involving a small wealth tax and Social Security Tax (SST), demonstrating that a BIG can be implemented without changes to income tax or VAT regimes. The outcomes would be significant, and have a whole of society impact, potentially reducing child mortality, hunger, crime, and a cyclical poverty trap.

“The study’s findings are a testament to the transformative potential of a Basic Income Grant in reshaping our economic landscape. They provide evidence that challenges existing norms and opens new possibilities for inclusive growth,” said Dr. Gilad Isaacs, IEJ’s Executive Director.

“If we implement a BIG, it can substantially reduce income poverty, contributing to a more equitable society,” added Dr. Isaacs.

The study emphasises the need for policymakers to reconsider preconceived notions about the economic impact of social assistance programs.

The full study is available for download on both the ADRS and the IEJ websites, providing a comprehensive exploration of the DIMMSIM model and its implications for South Africa’s economic future.

Executives and policymakers interested in training on ADRS Global economic modelling tools can now register for certificate level courses via the Economic Modelling Academy (EMA) at the Gordon Institute for Business Science (GIBS), specifically in macro-economics, poverty and inequality, green economy modelling and more.

Watch the launch webinar

For media inquiries and interview requests, contact:

For ADRS Global and the Economic Modelling Academy:
Zimkhita Mafanya
+27 83 320 8748

For IEJ:
Dalli Weyers

Share This
Contact Form IconCall Us Icon