Skip to main content
The Stability of Basic Income: A Constitutional Solution for a Political Problem?
Journal of Public Policy (2016)
  • Jurgen De Wispelaere, McGill University
  • Leticia Morales, McGill University
While basic income has surged in policy interest in recent years, political research has not kept up with the debate in the trenches. In this paper we tackle a political problem any enacting coalition must face: how to ensure the political stability of a basic income scheme over time. We first demonstrate how basic income schemes are particularly vulnerable to processes of policy change discussed in the recent policy feedback literature. We then analyze whether constitutionalizing basic income in a Bill of Rights protected by strong judicial review would offer a valuable route for boosting basic income’s stability. A careful examination of the decision-making process within judicial review suggests that, caught up in a dilemma between judicial restraint and judicial activism, an enacting coalition would do well not to rely on constitutional mechanisms as the sole avenue for ensuring the political stability of basic income.
Publication Date
December, 2016
Citation Information
Jurgen De Wispelaere and Leticia Morales. "The Stability of Basic Income: A Constitutional Solution for a Political Problem?" Journal of Public Policy Vol. 36 Iss. 4 (2016) p. 521 - 545
Available at: