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Basic Income Studies

Ed. by Haagh, Anne-Louise / Howard, Michael

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The Politics of the Basic Income Guarantee: Analysing Individual Support in Europe

Tim Vlandas
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  • Department of Social Policy and Intervention, St Antony's college, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX1 2JD, United Kingdom
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Published Online: 2019-06-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bis-2018-0021


This article analyses individual level support for a Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) using the European Social Survey. At the country level, support is highest in South and Central Eastern Europe, but variation does not otherwise seem to follow established differences between varieties of capitalisms or welfare state regimes. At the individual level, findings are broadly in line with the expectations of the political economy literature. Left-leaning individuals facing high labour market risk and/or on low incomes are more supportive of a BIG, whereas current union members are less likely to support a BIG, consistent with the insider-outsider literature. However, when controlling for confounding variables, union membership is not statistically significant, suggesting that it is not membership per se, but the characteristics of unionised workers that make them less supportive. In many countries, a coalition between centrist and left-leaning individuals therefore seems most promising, but its political feasibility depends on whether enough union members are favourable to a BIG and on the level of opposition from high income and/or conservative parts of the electorate.

Keywords: political economy; basic income guarantee; universal income; electoral politics; European Social Survey; welfare state


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About the article

Published Online: 2019-06-06

Citation Information: Basic Income Studies, Volume 14, Issue 1, 20180021, ISSN (Online) 1932-0183, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bis-2018-0021.

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