A Robin Hood for all: a conjoint experiment on support for basic income

Leire Rincón, University of Berlin
Leire Rincón, Humboldt University of Berlin

Under which conditions do individuals support a universal basic income (UBI)? Taking a comparative perspective, Leire Rincon investigates how the specific design of UBI shapes public support for such a policy compared to other policy proposals. Leire argues that its universality and unconditionality generate opposition to UBI since these principles depart from traditional welfare rationales of giving those in need. Hence, if deservingness considerations are met, support for UBI should increase. The results of a conjoint experiment conducted in Spain reveal that while universality is the most controversial feature of the policy, unconditionality is not. Additionally, using progressive funding mechanisms such as taxing the rich and limiting eligibility increase support for UBI. The findings imply that support for UBI may be fostered through policy design (i.e. if the policy is funded by the rich) so that even unpopular features may enjoy public backing.