More than a free lunch: A content analysis of the controversies surrounding Universal Basic Income on Dutch Twitter

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Abstract

Universal Basic Income (UBI) reached political agendas as a proposal to radically reform welfare systems, followed by scholarly interest in its public legitimacy. While surveys find UBI support to be mostly redistribution-driven, the discussion in science and media suggests a more nuanced understanding. To comprehensively grasp the public response to UBI policy, this article explores the controversies surrounding UBI policy through a content analysis of Dutch tweets. In addition to identifying established controversies, our analysis points to two avenues for the study of UBI legitimacy. First, a multidimensional measure of UBI support should include redistributive, conditionality, and efficiency aspects. Second, dissatisfaction with targeted activation policy and ‘post-productivist’ attitudes should receive greater attention as drivers of UBI support. Overall, we find the pressure to reform welfare is more than the promise of a ‘free lunch’: it is anchored in fundamental critiques of economic and welfare institutions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalSocial Policy & Society
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023

Keywords

  • ATTITUDES
  • Basic income
  • LEGITIMACY
  • PERCEPTIONS
  • SOCIAL INVESTMENT
  • SUPPORT
  • Twitter
  • WELFARE-STATE
  • content analysis
  • framing
  • welfare legitimacy

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