Laenen, Van Hootegem & Rossetti (2022)

Journal article
  • April 28, 2022

The multidimensionality of public support for basic income: A vignette experiment in Belgium. Journal of European Public Policy.

Abstract: Despite the much-increased political salience of basic income in recent years, we still know relatively little about its public support. The current article contributes to existing knowledge by studying public support for basic income from a multidimensional perspective, using a vignette experiment that charts popular support for a broad range of differently designed types of basic income. The results demonstrate that support for basic income is indeed inherently multidimensional, for three main reasons. First, some types of basic income are more popular than others, especially those that are conditional and equity-based. Second, people make significant trade-offs between various policy design dimensions and the deservingness criteria associated with them. Third, there are important differences in the types of basic income preferred by specific ideological groups: while left-wing people differentiate little between various proposals, their right-wing counterparts clearly prefer more-restrictive proposals. By situating these findings in a comparative perspective, the article proposes a novel conceptual framework, which postulates that the multidimensionality of support for basic income is context dependent. From a policy point-of-view, this is relevant in light of the crucial role played by public opinion in determining the political feasibility of implementing some form of basic income in a real-world setting.


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