Council for European Studies conference, June 2021

Council for European Studies conference, June 2021

Call for Papers:

Panel on the politics of Universal Basic Income. What role for activism(s)?

This Call for Papers (CFP) is interested in empirical studies that look at the social and political processes related to the growing interest in universal basic income (UBI), including recent pilot tests and experiments, their design and implementation, either at the local, national or supranational level, in Europe and elsewhere. In particular, it focuses on the role of the civil society, experts, public opinion and grassroot organizations, and their interaction with policy officers, government official and political parties. Examples of questions that are of interest for this panel:

  • To what extent UBI campaigns and activism have permeated mainstream political and policy discussions? What are the strategies pursued by UBI activists, and how these differ across different locations? When and how are civil society organizations (e.g. trade unions, women and feminist groups, migrants’ associations) willing to incorporate UBI to their demands?
  • What are the resistances and oppositions that UBI advocates face in their campaigns? How different UBI frames have shaped its reception among different social groups?
  • Do different welfare systems shape different forms of UBI activism, including aspects such as the frames and strategies these groups put forward? What is the precise role played by experts and public intellectuals in these processes? Does the social crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic open a window of opportunity for UBI ideas?

This CFP aims at gathering papers from scholars working on different aspects of the politics of UBI (or guaranteed incomes, negative income tax, cash transfers), to be presented in the context of the 27th International Conference of Europeanists, Council for European Studies (CES), to be held in Reykjavik, Iceland, June 24-26, 2021. Please send your abstract (300 words maximum) before 11 November 2020 to César Guzmán-Concha, e-mail: cesar.guzman-concha@unige.ch Please note that all paper authors must also submit their abstracts proposals through the CES online platform before the official deadline: 16 November 2020


For details of the whole conference see the Council for European Studies website.

Results of BIEN’s 2020 ballots

Results of BIEN’s 2020 ballots

As no General Assembly could be held this year, as many of the General Assembly functions as possible were conducted by postal ballot.

Executive Committee and other elections

None of the Executive Committee or other posts due for election had more than one candidate standing, and all of the candidates were approved by confirmatory ballots. The Executive Committee and other posts for 2020-21 can be found here.

Resolutions were passed as follows:

Annual accounts and reports were received;

A new internal rule relating to the international Advisory Board was passed (the rule requires the Executive Committee to administer and convene a meeting of the Board if it calls the meeting, and requires the Chair to administer and convene the meeting if the Chair calls it);

The Executive Committee was asked to explore with the Charity Commission whether General Assemblies can be held online in the future if required;

Three options were proposed for the frequency of BIEN congresses: annually; once every two years; and once every two years with regional conference during the intervening years. The decision was for congresses to be held annually.

McKinsey publishes an article about the Finland experiment

McKinsey publishes an article about the Finland experiment

McKinsey, the consultancy company, has published an article about the Finland Basic Income experiment.

The final results from Finland’s experiment are now
in, and the findings are intriguing: the basic income
in Finland led to a small increase in employment,
significantly boosted multiple measures of the
recipients’ well-being, and reinforced positive
individual and societal feedback loops. …

As with any policy analysis, the results of this
experiment remain subject to debate and can’t
necessarily be generalized. As a result, the
experiment does offer an object lesson in the
complexity of designing and implementing
a randomized control trial of basic income.
Nevertheless, more research on basic income is
required. We can hope that Finland’s example
will inform and inspire others as they set up their
own experiments.

New research on the Kenya pilot project

New research on the Kenya pilot project

Innovations for Poverty Action has published a research paper, ‘Effects of a Universal Basic Income During the Pandemic’.

We examine some effects of Universal Basic Income (UBI) during the COVID-19 pandemic using a large-scale experiment in rural Kenya. Transfers significantly improved well-being on common measures such as hunger, sickness and depression in spite of the pandemic, but with modest effect sizes. They may have had public health benefits, as they reduced hospital visits and decreased social (but not commercial) interactions that influence contagion rates. During the pandemic (and contemporaneous agricultural lean season) recipients lost the income gains from starting new non-agricultural enterprises that they had initially obtained, but also suffered smaller increases in hunger. This pattern is consistent with the idea that UBI induced recipients to take on more income risk in part by mitigating the most harmful consequences of adverse shocks.

To download the paper, click here.