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SPAIN (BASQUE COUNTRY): New Survey Confirms Public Support of Basic Income

Survey about Unconditional Basic Income which will be presented the 19th of November at the XVI Basic Income Symposium in Bilbao, Spain

By Julen Bollain

In September, the University of the Basque Country (Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea) carried out Europe’s second largest survey to date on unconditional basic income. The survey gathered 3057 responses, including 1479 students and 1330 workers. This article offers a brief overview of the findings, which will be officially and exhaustively presented at the 16th Basic Income Symposium on November 18th and 19th in Bilbao.

In the two previous biggest European surveys — one conducted in Catalonia by GESOP and the other in the European Union by DALIA Research — around 70% of respondents said they would support an unconditional basic income. The new survey from Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea finds that more than half of the respondents (54.4%) are in favor of an unconditional basic income. Although the percentage in favor is smaller, these data confirm that a majority of people throughout different European territories would support an unconditional basic income.

As is well known, the unconditional basic income can be easily ridiculed and,with little effort, the sensationalist media and other channels can cause citizens to reject basic income ipso facto with descriptions such as “unconditional basic income consists of giving 650€ per month to each citizen as it would create lazy people and people would stop working”. Given this, I think that result concerning whether survey respondents would stop working if they received an unconditional basic income, which will be mentioned in the next paragraph, is especially noteworthy.

The three surveys mentioned above show that under 4% of respondents believe that they would stop working if they received an unconditional basic income. In the first survey (the one carried out by GESOP in Catalonia), it was seen that only 2.9% of the respondents who are currently employed say that they would stop working. Meanwhile, in the second (carried out by Dalia Research), 4% of the 10,000 Europeans surveyed said that they would leave their job for an unconditional basic income. Both results are very similar to the one obtained recently by Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea, where the percentage of currently employed respondents who report that they would stop working if they received an unconditional basic income stands at 3.5%.

In conclusion, as the information above makes clear, the three largest surveys conducted so far in Europe on unconditional basic income support the following three premises:

1. A social majority is in favor of an unconditional basic income.

2. Only a small percentage of people would stop working if they received an unconditional basic income. (In the three surveys, this percentage was never higher than 4%.)

3. Unconditional basic income endows the citizenry a huge amount of individual freedom in order to invest their time in what each one really wants. A significant percentage of individuals surveyed said that they would reduce their working hours to devote that time in personal issues.

These results will described in more depth at the XVI Basic Income Symposium on Saturday, November 19th.

About Julen Bollain

Julen Bollain has written 4 articles.

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