A Comparative Analysis of Popular Attitudes toward the Idea of Universal Basic Income in Russia vs Europe

Andreenkova A.V.

Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Vice Director, Institute for Comparative Social Research (CESSI), Moscow, Russia anna.andreenkova@cessi.ru

DOI: 10.31857/S013216250008321-6
ID of the Article:

The paper was prepared with the financial support of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR), project No. 18-011-00999\19.

For citation:

Andreenkova A.V. A Comparative Analysis of Popular Attitudes toward the Idea of Universal Basic Income in Russia vs Europe. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2020. No 1. P. 18-30


In recent decade Europe and Russia are facing new challenges leading to deepening and increasing of intergroup and cross-national conflicts, threatening the social solidarity reached by previous generations. All European societies are involved in extensive discussions about reforming of current social welfare system. One proposal is the introduction of unconditional basic income (UBI). For the first time cross-national comparative data on population’s support for UBI were collected in European social survey (ESS, round 8, 2017–2018) in 23 European countries including Russia. The data analysis described in the article shows that cross-national differences in the support for introducing basic income scheme in Europe are unexpectedly high taking into account relative novelty of this idea in public debate and its radical character. Several hypothesis about the reasons and factors driving cross-national differences in attitudes toward UBI schema were suggested and discussed in the articles using ESS data including the hypothesis of economic affordability and the impact of general economic prosperity, the hypothesis of the need for social support, satisfaction with current national welfare system and demand for more extensive welfare programs and the hypothesis of national social-historical experience. Data shows that UBI schema is supported by young Europeans more than by older age groups. Popular support for the introduction of UBI schema in Russia is one of the highest in Europe. Regression analysis of ESS survey data provides evidence that high level of dissatisfaction and high demand for radical reforms of national social welfare system and more social justice in the distribution of national wealth contribute to the popular support of UBI idea in Russia.

universal basic income (UBI); welfare system; social justice; social solidarity; comparative cross-national surveys; European Social Survey (ESS)
Content No 1, 2020