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  • David Calnitsky
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    Basic Income in a Pandemic and Beyond

David Calnitsky, Assistant Professor of Sociology

Ph.D. Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
M.A. Economics, New School for Social Research
B.A. Political Science, McGill University
B.A. Architecture, University of Manitoba Full CV



Dr. Calnitsky's research interests include sociological theory, social change, social policy, and poverty.

Current Research Projects

Who gets the goods? Parliament, collective action, and the welfare state
with $228,814 funding from SSHRC Insight Grant, 2022

The Policy Road to Socialism
with funding from the Samuel Clark Award, 2021

Collective action and the welfare state in Latin America
with $9,602 funding from Western’s Faculty Research Development Fund (FRDF) 2022

For better or for worse: Understanding the material bases of social change
with $74,652 funding from SSHRC Insight Development Grant, 2020

The Social Theory of Erik Olin Wright
with funding from SSHRC Internal Seed Research Grant, 2019

Life After Work
with $34,347 funding from SSHRC Insight Development Grant, Co-Applicant: Evelyn Forget

Understanding the material bases of social change 
with internal SSHRC funding

In the News

May 28 "TWiSP 2020 M05 Thu28 Video" This Week in Sociological Perspective

Apr 15 "Married to the job: how a long-hours working culture keeps people single and lonely"  The Guardian

Apr. 16 "Experts: Pandemic making economic future uncertain" Western News

Apr. 28, 2020 "Should Cash Transfers Used as an Emergency Response Be Universal or Targeted?" Updates from the Lab, Stanford Basic Income Lab

Mar. 27, 2020 "Basic Income in a Pandemic and Beyond" Jacobin



"Junior Faculty Spotlight" ASA IPM Section Newsletter Dec. 2019

Recent Activities

Presented "Who gets the goods? Parliament, collective action and the welfare state" (with Ella Wind) at SASE 2022.

Presented “Some Impacts of the Manitoba Basic Income Experiment” at European Commission workshop on Real Utopias for a Social Europe (with Pilar Gonalons-Pons), June 2022.

2021 Keynote presentation, “Basic Income and the Labour Market” at Basic Income Pilots and Experiments Around the World conference, The BABEL (Basic Income in Belgium) Project, September 23.

Presented "The Material Bases of Social Change" (with Ella Wind) May 31 in the CSA 2021 Annual Meeting, at SASE 2021, and at ASA, 2021.



  • 3404F - 200 Modern Sociological Theory
  • 3404F - 201 Modern Sociological Theory


  • 2229B Global Inequality
  • 3404F Modern Sociological Theory
  • 3404G Modern Sociological Theory
  • 9002 Sociological Perspectives: Social Theory for Social Science


Recent Publications (Past 5 Years)
for more see pdf Full CV

Journal Articles

(2024) “Who gets the goods? Disentangling the effects of parliamentary representation and collective action on social spending” (With Ella Wind) European Sociological Review. Pp. 1-20.

(2024) "Five Intersections of Race and Class" (With Michael Martinez) Historical Materialism. (published online ahead of print 2024). Also available for free as pre-print through Scholarship@Western.

(2023) "A Class Functionalist Theory of Race," (With Michael Martinez) Du Bois Review.

(2022) "The Policy Road to Socialism" Critical Sociology, 48(3), 397-422.

(2022) "Exit, Voice, and Loyalty in the Family" (with Pilar Gonalons Pons) Socio-Economic Review 20(3): 1395-1423 (with Pilar Gonalons-Pons).

(2021) "Which Way Forward for Economic Security: Basic Income or Public Services?" (with Tom Malleson)  Basic Income Studies pp. 1-43. 

(2020) "The Impact of an Experimental Guaranteed Income on Crime and Violence" (with Pilar Gonalons-Pons) Social Problems 68(3): 778-798.

(2020) "The employer response to the guaranteed annual income" Socio-Economic Review 18(2): 493-517.

(2019) "Life after Work: The Impact of Basic Income on Nonemployment Activities" (with Jonathan Latner and Evelyn Forget) Social Science History 43(4): 1-21.

(2019) "The High-Hanging Fruit of the Gender Revolution: A Model of Social Reproduction and Social Change" Sociological Theory 37(1): 35-61.

(2019) "Basic Income and the Pitfalls of Randomization" Contexts 18(1): 22-29.

(2018) "Does Basic Income Assume a Can Opener?" Catalyst 2(3): 136-155.

(2018) "Structural and individualistic theories of poverty" Sociology Compass 12(12): 1-14.

(2018) "'If the work requirement is strong': The business response to basic income proposals in Canada and the US" Canadian Journal of Sociology 43(3): 291-315.

(2017) "Debating Basic Income" Catalyst 1(3): 62-91.

(2017) "Basic Income in a Small Town: Understanding the Elusive Effects on Work" (with Jonathan Latner) Social Problems 64(3): 373-97.

(2016) "'More Normal than Welfare': The Mincome Experiment, Stigma, and Community Experience" Canadian Review of Sociology 53(1): 26-71.

If you’re interested in working with me and curious about my theoretical influences, here’s a long list of books that have shaped my thinking, which is not to say I agree with them. These also happen to be books that are generally worth reading while you’re in grad school.

Elster, J. (1985). Making sense of Marx. Cambridge University Press.
Elster, J. (2015). Explaining social behavior. Cambridge University Press.
Przeworski, A. (1986). Capitalism and social democracy. Cambridge University Press.
Kenworthy, L. (2014). Social Democratic America. Oxford University Press.
Esping-Andersen, G. (1985). Politics against Markets. Princeton University Press.
Skocpol, T. (1979). States and social revolutions. Cambridge University Press.
Cohen, G. A. (2000). Karl Marx's theory of history. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Stinchcombe, A. L. (1987). Constructing social theories. University of Chicago Press.
Lindert, P. H. (2004). Growing public. Cambridge University Press.
Chibber, V. (2014). Postcolonial theory and the specter of capital. Verso Books.
Fields, B. J., & Fields, K. E. (2012). Racecraft. Verso Books.
MacKinnon, C. A. (1989). Toward a feminist theory of the state. Harvard University Press.
Jaggar, A. M. (1983). Feminist politics and human nature. Rowman & Littlefield.
Garfinkel, A. (1981). Forms of explanation. Yale University Press.
Hechter, M. (1987). Principles of group solidarity. University of California Press.
Wright, E. O. (1997). Class counts. Cambridge University Press.
Cartwright, N., & Montuschi, E. (Eds.). (2014). Philosophy of social science. Oxford University Press.
Van Parijs, P. (1981). Evolutionary explanation in the social sciences. Rowman & Littlefield.
Bowles, S., & Gintis, H. (2011). Cooperative Species. Princeton University Press.
Becker, G. S. (1976). The economic approach to human behavior (Vol. 803). University of Chicago press.
Sweezy, P. M. (2018). Theory of capital development. NYU Press.
Roemer, J. E.. (2009). Free to lose. Harvard University Press.