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Attitude of Russian Youth to the Idea of Unconditional Basic Income – Understanding, Motives, Misconceptions

Research Article

Anna V. Andreenkova Doctor of Sociology
Institute for comparative social research (CESSI), Moscow, Russia
ORCID ID=0000-0002-6776-7703
Attitude of Russian Youth to the Idea of Unconditional Basic Income – Understanding, Motives, Misconceptions.
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2023. Vol. 14. No. 4. P. 38-61

"Russian citizens' request for a just social state" 123091200057-8 EISI / supported by the Ministry of Education and Science at ISISS RAS.

Дата поступления статьи: 05.07.2023
Topic: In search of justice: the idea of unconditional basic income

For citation:
Andreenkova A. V. Attitude of Russian Youth to the Idea of Unconditional Basic Income – Understanding, Motives, Misconceptions. Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2023. Vol. 14. No. 4. P. 38-61
DOI: https://doi.org/10.19181/vis.2023.14.4.3. EDN: AUUJRW


In recent years, the idea of a universal basic income (UBI) has begun to be widely discussed as a way to reform the social security system. For the effective implementation of this system, a high level of public consent is required, since it will affect all social groups. According to the Russian Social Survey (RSI) under the ESS programme, support for UBI among the Russian population is one of the highest in Europe. Most of all, UBI is supported by young people. Based on the tenth wave of RSI, hypotheses about the grounds for the formation of attitudes towards UBI among Russian youth were tested - the utilitarian-pragmatic theory of interests, the value theory and the “level of opinion formation” hypothesis. Significant differences were found in attitudes towards UBI between gender groups, people with different levels of education, economic status, different family structure, experience of unemployment and work-life balance. Among the value factors, support for measures to reduce economic inequality and the value of independence showed the strongest relationship with a UBI. However, in general, the first two hypotheses cannot convincingly explain the phenomenon of support for UBI among young people. The results of cognitive interviews conducted as part of the CESSI-Monitor national survey showed that the opinion about UBI among young people in Russia is still poorly formed. The majority of respondents gleaned basic information about UBI from the very name of the concept during the interview. Positive opinion about UBI arose due to the idea of ​​guaranteed additional income mentioned in the name. Such aspects as unconditionality and universality either have not yet found understanding or are perceived contradictory. Those who view a UBI as a system of equitable distribution of natural resource rents and national wealth have a positive attitude towards the idea of universality and equality in the distribution of such income. Those who emphasise the fact that UBI is funded by taxpayers perceive the idea of inclusiveness and equality without regard to merit and need negatively. In general, low awareness of UBI and poorly formed opinions lead to its instability. New arguments and clarifications can significantly change the picture. Therefore, it is still premature to talk about deep support for the UBI idea among Russian youth.


unconditional basic income, social security system, social justice, welfare state, social policy, youth, public opinion, cross-country comparisons

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