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MMoran KSmith Thur Apr 2023 Jurgen


Date: Thur. 20th April

Time: 6 to 7:30pm

Venue: Geary Institute Seminar Room, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4

TITLE: “A Pandemic Policy Puzzle: How COVID19 simultaneously promoted and sank the idea of a universal basic income"

Speaker: Jurgen De Wispelaere, PhD, Visiting Professor, Götz Werner Chair of Economic Policy & Constitutional Theory, University of Freiburg, Germany

ABSTRACT: The COVID19 pandemic provided a major media and policy boost to the idea of a universal basic income. During the pandemic calls for introducing something like a basic income as part of a pandemic policy response reverberated across the globe. Several countries instituted temporary reforms that went some way in this direction, but meanwhile no real policy window for the long-term implementation of basic income seems to have emerged. The focus on the so-called Emergency Basic Income variant (EBI) may have taken the wind out of the more familiar Universal Basic Income (UBI) idea. In this talk I want to outline the pandemic case for an EBI but also show its limitations, both as a policy solution and as a wedge for introducing a full basic income model. But the talk will then outline a pandemic case for a full UBI focusing on the example of the municipality of Maricá in Brazil, which during the pandemic was able to rapidly introduce an EBI in large part by building on the UBI model it had introduced several years before. I will argue that the Maricá model is worth looking at for inspiration on how to argue for basic income as a pandemic policy instrument around the world.

Speaker Bio: Jurgen De Wispelaere is a political theorist turned public policy scholar. He is Visiting Professor at the Götz Werner Chair of Economic Policy & Constitutional Theory, University of Freiburg. A Belgian national, these days he divides his time between Chile and Europe. In the past 25 years he has lived and worked all over the world, holding research or teaching positions at universities in countries as diverse as Latvia, Finland, Spain, Canada, UK and Ireland. Jurgen is an expert in the politics and political economy of basic income and has published extensively on this topic in leading academic journals and edited collections. He is the co-editor of four volumes as well as the Founding Editor of the interdisciplinary journal Basic Income Studies. He has consulted on basic income with international organisations and governments interested in conducting basic income pilots. Most recently he serves on the Scientific Committee of the Catalan Basic Income Pilot project, which plans to pilot basic income for two years with 5000 individuals across Catalunya. He is currently working on two research projects: one related to exploring the policy impact of the recent wave of basic income experiments and the other examining the role of basic income in emergency or crisis situations. He is a big fan of extreme death metal and thinks the world would be a better place if more people would deal with their frustrations by going to metal concerts.


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This is a School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice Seminar Series in conjunction with UCD Equality Studies Centre. This seminar has been organised by Dr Karen Smith, Asst. Prof. (Social Justice) and Dr Marie Moran. For more information email: (opens in a new window)Karen.Smith@ucd.ie

Contact the UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice

Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington Building, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 8198 | E: sp-sw-sj@ucd.ie |