The political debate on basic income and welfare reform in Spain

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© Cambridge University Press 2018. Two factors have boosted the debate on Basic Income (BI) in Spain in recent years: On the one hand, the combination of welfare budget cuts and growing poverty rates has spread claims for a radical reform of Spanish welfare policies; on the other hand, the emergence of Podemos as a new key actor in the Spanish political arena has generated a vivid discussion on BI and income guarantee proposals. By reviewing the political debates on these proposals, I will argue that economic feasibility concerns and implementation problems are closely related to their political feasibility. Significantly, the radical rejection of 'means-testing' by BI defenders fails to grasp the different types and degrees of conditions that an income guarantee system may establish. The main lesson from the Spanish experience is that BI supporters should be ready to compromise and accept generous means-tested guaranteed income programs as stepping-stones.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-299
JournalSocial Policy and Society
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • basic income
  • guaranteed income
  • political feasibility
  • Spain
  • Welfare state


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