Basic income and social policy in Europe: what could shape a social-democratic proposal

Policy Brief

23/02/2016

While most European countries have forms of minimum income protection, a basic income, intended as a universal, unconditional and non-withdrawable intervention for all citizens, has been considered for many years a very ambitious (if not unrealistic) policy proposal. The empirical applications of the basic income are rare: at the moment we can find one real-work application of a semi-basic income in Alaska. However, a useful discussion on basic income needs to understand this instrument as a development, rather than in opposition, to the current forms of social protection. Current minimum income protection systems are generally means-tested and aim to offer a last resort protection from the risks of the labour markets; as such, their success is highly linked to labour market performances. The idea of the basic income, on the other side, poses the possibility of having an unconditional form of support. 

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