Vakgroep Psychologie, Gezondheid & Technologie

Imagining future life and society with a universal basic income

Supplementary info:

Type of assignment: MA
Internal– or external: Internal
How many students possible: 2
New data collection: No
Type of research: Qualitative analysis
EC: 10 EC



The universal basic income (UBI) is the idea of giving every citizen an unconditional, monthly income. The original idea of the receipt of the UBI is the right to cover basic needs and to live one’s life following own desires. This is linked to potential increase in flourishing, e.g. optimal functioning and well-being. Flourishers are underrepresented in society (varying between 20% and 40% in European countries - [2]) and therefore the UBI is thought to be an opportunity to support flourishing in society. The limited existing empirical studies of experimental projects show promising results regarding socio-economic advantages of the UBI [1, 3], but if and how the UBI will affect potentially flourishing enhancing life choices is unknown. Because the UBI is currently only locally implemented for limited periods of time, and experiments are typically limited to deprived groups, the possibility to execute empirical studies is limited. Therefore, this study uses novel methodology aimed at eliciting possible futures [4] to investigate how potential beneficiaries of the UBI envision their future selves, world, actions and decisions. You will qualitatively analyze an existing sample of 10 participants who wrote a letter about a future with UBI, and reflected on several aspects of the imagined future.



[1] Forget, E. L. (2011). The town with no poverty: the health effects of a Canadian guaranteed annual income field experiment. Canadian Public Policy, 37(3), 283-305.

[2] Huppert, F. A., & So, T. T. (2013). Flourishing across Europe: Application of a new conceptual framework for defining well-being. Social Indicators Research, 110(3), 837-861.

[3] Koistinen, P., & Perkiö, J. (2014). Good and bad times of social innovations: the case of Universal basic income in Finland. Basic Income Studies, 9(1-2), 25-57.

[4] Sools, A., Tromp, T. & Mooren, J.H.M. (2015).Mapping letters from the future: Exploring narrative processes of imagining the future. Journal of Health Psychology, 20, 350-364.



Anneke Sools