22nd January 2018

BIEN: European Social Survey (ESS) reveal findings about attitudes toward Universal Basic Income across Europe

The European Social Survey (ESS) has published its 2016 Round 8 results, which include, for the first time in its history, a polling question asking participants to express their attitude to the hypothetical introduction of a basic income scheme in society.

The 34,604 participants across 18 European countries were asked whether, overall, they would be ‘strongly against’, ‘against’, ‘in favour’ or ‘strongly in favour’ of a scheme – labelled by the ESS as a ‘basic income scheme’ – that operates under the following conditions:

  • The government pays everyone a monthly income to cover essential living costs;
  • It replaces many other social benefits;
  • The purpose is to guarantee everyone a minimum standard of living;
  • Everyone receives the same amount regardless of whether or not they are working;
  • People also keep the money they earn from work or other sources;
  • This scheme is paid for by taxes.

There was also an option to leave no response to the question. The answer rate across the countries mostly fell between 90% and 98%, though the two anomalies were Poland, with an 85.3% rate, and the Russian Federation, with an 80.9% rate.

According to the survey, 52.2% of those polled in the Czech Republic were either ‘in favour’ or ‘strongly in favour’ of the basic income scheme: The ‘Eastern Europe’ countries, for example, tended to be generally more in favour of the scheme, with, in addition to Russia, 65% of those in Slovenia, 58.5% of those in Poland, 52.2% of those in the Czech Republic, and 46.7% of those in Estonia either ‘in favour’ or ‘strongly in favour’ of the scheme (representing the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 8th and 12th countries, respectively, most in favour of the idea). Conversely, the countries falling within the ‘Social Demographic’ grouping tended to be generally less in favour of the scheme, with 66.3% of those in Norway, 62.4% of those in Sweden, 54.0% of those in Iceland, 50.2% of those in Netherlands and 44.3% of those in Finland either ‘against’ or ‘strongly against’ the scheme, ESS data show. (Source: BIEN)

Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic