Dr Jurgen De Wispelaere

ISRF Political Economy Fellow 2017-18

Dr Jurgen De Wispelaere

ISRF Political Economy Fellow 2017-18

ISRF Jurgen De Wispelaere

Jurgen De Wispelaere is a former occupational therapist turned political theorist and policy scholar. He is an ISRF Political Economy Research Fellow and a Policy Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research (University of Bath). In 2016 he was a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Tampere (Finland), and in this capacity formed part of the Kela-led research team preparing the upcoming national basic income experiment in Finland. Before that he worked at universities in Montreal, Barcelona, Dublin and London and was a visiting researcher at Oxford, ANU, UCLouvain, amongst others.

His major research interest is the political analysis of basic income, which was the topic of his doctoral dissertation at the University of Tampere. The current ISRF project is an extension of this research agenda. Jurgen De Wispelaere has published extensively on basic income in leading international journals, including most recently Journal of Social Policy, Journal of Public Policy, Politics, Political Studies, International Social Security Review and Social Service Review, as well as specialist edited volumes. He is a founding co-editor of the journal Basic Income Studies and recently co-edited Basic Income: An Anthology of Contemporary Research (Wiley 2013). In addition to basic income, he is interested in disability rights, organ donation, and adoption and has published on all these topics.

Jurgen De Wispelaere was the co-convenor of the 2014 BIEN Congress in Montreal. He is a big fan of death metal and believes a basic income would provide much needed support for the underground music scene.

Varieties of Basic Income: The Political Economy of Universalism in European Welfare States

While in recent years basic income has evolved from a marginal policy idea to a serious item on the policy agenda, there is surprisingly little engagement with questions of how to integrate universal and unconditional basic income schemes into the existing institutional configuration of the developed welfare state. In this project I adopt a political economy approach to analyse what I term the “varieties of basic income”: distinctive basic income models that can be mapped onto the specific features of types of welfare states. The project involves both a systematic review of basic income models and welfare regimes, and several empirical projects focused on the political support of political parties and key stakeholders in Finland (where basic income is scheduled to be trialled in January 2017). The importance of this project is to refocus scholarly attention from philosophical and economic debates about the desirability and feasibility of basic income, to its political feasibility — with specific focus on examining the prospects for building a robust basic income constituency, a stable enacting coalition of political actors, and the goodness-of-fit of specific basic income proposals within the institutional configuration of mature welfare states.

Research Outcomes

  • De Wispelaere, J., Halmetoja, A., & Ville-Veikko, P. (2018). The Finnish basic income experiment–correcting the narrative. Social Europe8, 2018.

Contacting Fellows

If you would like to contact any of our Fellows to discuss their ISRF-funded work, please contact Dr Lars Cornelissen (Academic Editor) in the first instance, at [email protected].