Life Satisfaction and Socio-Economic Vulnerability: Evidence from the Basic Income Experiment in Barcelona

Filka Sekulova*, Fabricio Bonilla, Bru Laín

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This work focuses on the implications of introducing a variation of a Basic Income for individuals in grim socio-economic conditions in Barcelona (Spain). We explore the happiness and socio-psychological imprint of living in material deprivation in a metropolitan city. Surveying people who joined the two-year Municipal Inclusion Support (MIS) scheme launched by the Municipality of Barcelona, we first identify the major constructs that contribute to recipients’ subjective well-being, paying particular attention to the sense of socio-economic vulnerability. Secondly, we explore the way beneficiaries’ subjective well-being changed over the project duration. Overall, the introduction of the MIS has had a positive effect on the subjective well-being of its recipients over the program duration. We also find that the profound and lasting effect of material and food deprivation, and the continuous stress these entail, explain changes in subjective well-being better than the actual income level. Notably, the creation and presence of networks for mutual support emerges as a pillar for human well-being in contexts of socio-economic vulnerability. This result stood out for women, who were majority group among the basic income recipients, pointing at high level of female economic vulnerability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2035-2063
Number of pages29
JournalApplied Research in Quality of Life
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2023


  • Barcelona
  • Basic Income
  • Life satisfaction
  • Socio-economic vulnerability


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