New publication! Basic Income and the Social Investment State: Towards Mutual Reinforcement? by Luke Martinelli and Yannick Vanderborght in European Journal of Social Security

Is a social investment strategy compatible with the provision of an unconditional basic income? Prima facie, these two scenarios look like incongruent policy alternatives. While social investment – an influential policy paradigm at the level of the European Union – aims at promoting public services and maximum labor market participation, basic income is paid in cash and has sometimes been presented as the key component of a post-work future.

In this article, Luke Martinelli and Yannick Vanderborght explore this apparent incongruence and show that these two visions for welfare reform are not necessarily incompatible. Martinelli and Vanderborght even argue that they may share a number of substantial points of agreement, and indeed may reinforce one another according to a logic of institutional complementarity. In particular, they claim that a partial basic income (i.e., a modest unconditional income guarantee, whose amount would be insufficient if one lives alone) could enhance or complement the key functions of a social-democratic version of the social investment strategy. By doing so, Martinelli and Vanderborght conclude that the integration of a basic income into a social investment package could contribute to overcoming criticisms of the social investment agenda. At the same time, it could rescue basic income from the numerous critics who see it as an unrealistic policy proposal.