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Arkistoitu opetusohjelma 2015–2016
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SOS10.1.3 Universal Basic Income: New Avenues in Social Welfare Policy 5 ECTS
Period I Period II Period III Period IV
Language of instruction
Type or level of studies
Advanced studies
Course unit descriptions in the curriculum
Sosiaalitieteiden tutkinto-ohjelma
School of Social Sciences and Humanities

Learning outcomes

In this course students learn to critically examine the arguments in favour and against basic income and to place the basic income model within the broader context of challenges to and reform of the modern welfare state. Students will also learn to differentiate different basic income models, and to understand the practical and political challenges that emerge when moving from a social idea to a social policy. Students will be expected to critically engage with a key aspect of the basic income debate, conduct personal research to come to a better understanding of the problem and start to formulate a solution to the challenge identified. Throughout this course students will gain understanding of the practical problems of social policy design and implementation.

General description

The idea of granting each citizen an individual and unconditional regular income without any means test of work requirement has gained my prominence across Europe (and beyond) in the last decade. In June the Swiss will vote on a referendum to institute a basic income. Basic income features prominently in public debates across Europe and several parties have adopted it in their respective election programs. The Netherlands and of course Finland are in the process of starting a multi-year basic income experiment, while most recently France and Portugal are exploring the same idea. The purpose of this course is to offer students a thorough introduction about basic income as a social policy instrument. The course outlines the main characteristics of basic income and explores how it differs from traditional income support policies. In addition, the course provides a critical overview of the reasons for and against a basic income as well as reviewing a number of practical and political challenges that need to be overcome. Finally, the course offers a series of lectures that focus on basic income in the Finnish context, including an updated account of the ongoing preparation for the basic income experiment scheduled to start in January 2017.

Course Structure

This course consists of a series of lectures (roughly one hour) by UTA faculty or guest lecturers, followed by a short discussion session with the students. The course is divided in three large components covering the reasons for introducing a basic income, the political and policy challenges faced by the basic income model, and a section discussing basic income in the Finnish context (including the upcoming basic income experiment). Students are expected to  one required reading in advance of the lecture to familiarise themselves with the topic. Lectures will be recorded and (together with presentation slides) made available to students.


Each lecture will last around 60mins with 30-40mins reserved for discussion in class. Students are expected to come prepared and to engage in this discussion.

Monday 7.3. “Introduction - Basic Income: From Idea to Policy”

                      Jurgen De Wispelaere, University of Tampere

Monday 14.3. “Basic Income and the Ambition of Decent Work”

                      Pertti Koistinen, University of Tampere

Monday 21.3. “Basic Income and the Welfare State”

                      Bettina Leibetseder, Johannes Kepler University

Monday 4.4. “Basic Income and Social Justice”
                      Simon Birnbaum, Stockholm University

Monday 11.4. “Basic Income: From Design to Implementation”
                      Lindsay Stirton, University of Sussex & Jurgen De Wispelaere, University of Tampere

Monday 18.4. “Basic Income in Search of a Political Constituency”
                      Jurgen De Wispelaere, University of Tampere

Monday 25.4. “Beyond Left and Right? Building a Basic Income Coalition” Jurgen De Wispelaere, University of Tampere

Monday 2.5. “The Finnish Basic Income Debate” Heikki Hiilamo, University of Helsinki

Monday 9.5. “The Economics of Basic Income Experiments”
                      Jani-Petri Laamanen, University of Tampere

Monday 16.5. “The Finnish Basic Income Experiment: An Overview”
                      Olli Kangas, Kela

Monday 23.5. Student Projects (details TBC)

Student Project

The main assignment of this course is a group project examining a particular issue in the basic income debate. Student groups consisting of 5-6 students each must decide on a specific problem, carefully examine the issue using relevant literature and empirical data (where available), and focus on both carefully analysing the problem and proposing a resolution. As part of this course we will organise a project day, in which each group will present their project and discuss it with their fellow students. The presentation slides will also be made available online. More detailed info will be made available at the start of the course.


Enrolment for University Studies

Enrolment time has expired


Antti Halmetoja, Teacher responsible
Jurgen De Wispelaere, Teacher responsible


7-Mar-2016 – 23-May-2016
Mon 7-Mar-2016 - 23-May-2016 weekly at 14-16, PinniB4113
7-Mar-2016 at 14 –16 , PinniA Paavo Koli auditorium
23-May-2016 at 14 –16 , Linna 6017


Numeric 1-5.