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Precarious Work, Unemployment Benefit Generosity and Universal Basic Income Preferences: A Multilevel Study on 21 European Countries

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 May 2020

University of Helsinki, PO Box 18, 00014, Helsinki, Finland. email:
University of Helsinki, PO Box 4, 00014, Helsinki, Finland. Centre Maurice Halbwachs (CNRS/EHESS/ENS), Paris, France, email:
Finnish Centre for Pensions, Kirjurinkatu 3, 00065, Eläketurvakeskus, Helsinki, Finland. email:


The idea of universal basic income (UBI) has been attracting increasing attention globally over recent years. However, research on the individual and institutional determinants of UBI support is scarce. The present study attempts to fills this gap by analysing workers’ attitudes towards UBI schemes in 21 European welfare states and focusing on the roles of precarious work (i.e. part-time work, temporary employment, low-skilled service employment, and solo self-employment) and unemployment benefit generosity (i.e. net replacement rate, payment duration, and qualifying period). We estimate fixed and random effects logistic models by merging country-level institutional data with the European Social Survey Round 8 data collected in 2016. The findings show that temporary employment is associated with positive attitudes towards UBI schemes, whereas other types of precarious work do not have significant influences. In addition, the results reveal that the more generous a country’s unemployment benefits, the less likely are workers in that country to support UBI schemes.

© The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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